Arsene Wenger has been talking about his Arsenal side ahead of tonight’s crucial Champions League clash with the Belgian champions Anderlecht. And the manager’s words make me think that he will start with the same line-up for the third game in a row tonight.
As a report by Arsenal.com shows, Wenger feels that the reason the Gunners were struggling until a couple of games ago was a lack of patience and then a lack of confidence on the defensive side of things. But the same 11 players have now started against Sunderland and Burnley and Arsenal have two important clean sheets and two wins from them.
The boss said, “Sometimes maybe we wanted too much to win games so we didn’t get our priorities right. But it’s only two games with clean sheets so we shouldn’t go overboard.
“We also had to change our defence quite a lot. We have Koscielny out now, Debuchy is out for a long time and Gibbs and Monreal have also been missing.
“It’s always important to find the right balance. The players are the players at the end of the day, and I make the decisions. I believe it was more a question of patience, and a desire to win the game.
“The decisive game was Manchester City at home, when we were 2-1 up and conceded a goal at a corner because we were not focused. From then on we had some doubts.
“I’m an attacking manager, but when you need to score four goals to win the game it’s one hell of a mountain to climb. To attack with freedom you need to also think, ‘OK I can go,’ and be sure you will be secure defensively.
“In the modern game as well the physical levels have gone up – everyone is quicker – so you cannot guarantee that you will score three or four goals in every game. I don’t think teams attack much better, but they defend much better than 10 years ago.”
So even though the Wales international star Aaron Ramsey completed half an hour of the home win on Saturday, I think that Wenger will stick with the midfield pairing of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini tonight. It is quite a solid system and the Gunners should have plenty of possession and chances so another clean sheet should mean all three points.