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Monday 15 September 2014

Wenger: We must stay on our toes

Published 04/11/2013 | 16:36

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Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal cannot afford to take their eye off the ball

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned his Barclays Premier League leaders they cannot allow themselves a "little breather" in the battle for a successful season.

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The Gunners head to Borussia Dortmund for Wednesday's Champions League Group F showdown - where they are likely to have to do without midfielder Jack Wilshere, who is nursing an ankle problem - on the back of a 2-0 win over Liverpool which moved them five points clear.

But, having now provided the perfect response from the Capital One Cup exit at home to Chelsea, Wenger insists there cannot be any time for reflecting on a job well done.

"We passed (the test against Liverpool) in a convincing way," Wenger told Arsenal Player.

"The focus of the team and the togetherness you could feel from the outside.

"Let's enjoy it, take a lot of encouragement from it and continue to develop as a team.

"But as well we must be cautious and be on our toes because we changed it (season) in an emphatic way so let's make sure we continue to grow and do not think 'okay let's have a little breather'."

Wilshere missed the Liverpool match because of an ankle problem which is understood to be unrelated to the long-term injury he has been battling against in recent seasons.

The combative 21-year-old will be assessed ahead of the squad's departure for Germany on Tuesday afternoon, and could well stay in London to try to get him fully match fit in time for Sunday's Premier League trip to Manchester United.

Defender Kieran Gibbs is also doubtful after limping off in the second half against Liverpool with a calf problem, while midfielder Mathieu Flamini is not yet expected back from his groin injury and Theo Walcott may also be available at the weekend as he steps up his recovery following minor abdominal surgery.

Wilshere's absence could well see Tomas Rosicky face his former club on Wednesday night.

The 33-year-old Czech playmaker has enjoyed the chance to establish a "fun" partnership with the likes of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil.

Rosicky, signed from Dortmund in May 2006 and who has been hampered by several injury setbacks, feels the Gunners can be confident of building on their positive start.

"Of course we would like to stay there on top of the league, it's a good feeling to be there, but it's too soon, it doesn't mean a lot at this time," he said.

"But it is not a bad feeling I have to admit and I would like to stay there."

Rosicky made 126 league appearances for the Bundesliga side during five seasons in Germany after signing from Sparta Prague and is looking forward to a return to the Westfalenstadion.

"I won the league there and played in the UEFA Cup final there so obviously I have a lot of attachments and it will be a special game for me," he said.

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