Arsene Wenger has said that his team’s recent run of good form is a result of their failures in the 2010/11 season.
Arsenal were on the verge of ending their six-year long trophy drought at this time last season when they faced Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final. But in a surprising turn of events, they lost that match and their confidence took a serious hit. The Gunners crashed out of two more cup competitions in the next two weeks and were able to win just three of their remaining 14 matches.
Last month, it had seemed that they might be on the verge of experiencing a similar kind of destructive finish this season too when they lost 4-0 to AC Milan in midweek and then crashed out of the FA Cup on the subsequent weekend against Sunderland. But instead of suffering a meltdown like last year, Arsenal bounced back in style and put together a run of four consecutive wins that have brought them to within a point of third-placed Tottenham Hotspur on the Barclays Premiership points table.
In Wednesday’s interview with the club’s official website, Wenger recalled: “We were in four different competitions and were knocked out in three in the space of two weeks. You are only human beings. Two results (back-to-back draws with Liverpool and Tottenham in mid-April) killed the hope we had to play for the championship and from then on we felt, subconsciously, too secure that we were in the top four anyway.
“Once you don’t go for the championship anymore, it’s different. On top of that we have experience. It is a key time. The fixtures are difficult for Arsenal, for Chelsea, for Tottenham. It is so fragile that it is just down to the next performance. Therefore that is what you want to focus on. We had a little bit of a breather, so it is important for us to focus again and keep the momentum going.”
Arsenal’s recent revival owes everything to their fighting spirit and their newfound ability to recover from trailing positions. In all of their last four league matches, they have conceded first, only to come back from behind and claim all three points. While some might think of it as just good luck, Wenger believes that it is down to their never-say-die attitude and willingness to fight until the final whistle.
“Every time, we have shown outstanding spirit. It’s not fantastic for your emotions, but overall when it finishes well you accept to suffer. If that’s the price we have to pay, we are ready. But you just want to continue with the same attitude, because I don’t believe in luck too much on that side of the game. If you come back, it is because you fight, and if you fight, you have a chance to come back, so let’s fight first,” he added.