Wednesday 26 October 2016

Arsene Wenger desperate not to contract the losing "virus" at Arsenal

Published 14/10/2016 | 22:41

Arsene Wenger saw his Arsenal side lose 2-1 at home to Swansea last season.
Arsene Wenger saw his Arsenal side lose 2-1 at home to Swansea last season.

Arsene Wenger is looking to record a victory over Swansea on Saturday and avoid the "virus" of Arsenal fans turning against him and his team.

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The Swans have a good recent record at the Emirates Stadium, having won there in the past two seasons with their last loss back in 2013.

A 2-1 victory for the visitors in the corresponding game back in February was highlighted by Wenger as the point which ruled Arsenal out of the Premier League title race as supporters turned on the Frenchman and the players.

The response led to Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer Thierry Henry admitting he had "never seen Arsenal supporters that angry" as Wenger's tenure was again called into question.

The defeat followed a 3-2 loss at Manchester United and was followed with a draw in the north London derby at Tottenham, with Wenger pointing to the run as costly as the Gunners ended the campaign in second place, 10 points adrift of champions Leicester.

"We had two low points (last season)," he said.

"The first was to lose at Man United and that was straight before Swansea. We damaged our chances. Last year we had a very negative experience with Swansea who killed our opportunity to win the Premier League.

"We were really criticised a lot after the Tottenham game but we did extremely well.

"With 10 men we came back to 2-2 and played extremely well. But after that we had the negative environment after Swansea."

This time around Swansea visit with Arsenal looking to record a sixth successive win in all competitions and Wenger believes the club's supporters are now completely with the team, although he admits that can quickly change.

"I believe our fans are behind us," he added.

"It is strange because in 2016 how many games have we lost away from home? One at Man United. When you listen to people you'd never believe it. So we have to perform.

"I must say that the negativity comes very quickly. It is a virus that travels very quickly and goes away very slowly.

"I believe at the moment the vibes are positive. We have reduced distance with the top teams. We have to continue to get to the next level.

"We can only think we have to create a positive environment and to do that we have to perform. We want to perform. The rest we have to ignore. Let's focus on the way we perform and the way we play.

"You focus on what is important for you and what can help you. The way the team plays and what is important and accept the assessment of people around you.

"Fans are part of our game and they have the right to be happy, not to be happy. My job is to focus on my job and trying to make them happy."

For Swansea, they will head to north London for Bob Bradley's first game as manager after he was appointed as Francesco Guidolin's replacement during the international break.

It will be the 58 year-old's first job in England and Wenger feels the American's arrival can only be a good thing for the Premier League.

"Bob Bradley has a lot of experience. He's not a beginner, he has travelled a lot and has accumulated experience in the United States," added Wenger.

"He has been in Egypt, France recently and is now in England which is certainly a fantastic opportunity for him. It's also good for the Premier League because the Premier League is taking off in the States.

"To have an American here will create even more interest for the Premier League in the States. He is equipped to deal with what is asked of him."

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