Sunday 9 December 2018

Wenger: This is worse than last season

The Frenchman added that he knew the visit of in-form City on Thursday would be a
The Frenchman added that he knew the visit of in-form City on Thursday would be a "problem" Photo: PA

Sam Dean

Arsene Wenger has claimed he can "live with the reality" of Arsenal's rapidly derailing campaign as the club heads for the worst season of his reign.

Wenger said he "does not deny" that this season is shaping up to be worse than last term, in which his side finished fifth in the Premier League, but insisted he was not worried and added that he would analyse what went wrong once the campaign had concluded.

For the first time since Wenger's first campaign in English football - in 1996/'97 - Arsenal have won less than half of their games in the league. They have 13 wins in 28 matches, and Thursday's 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester City was their seventh loss in 13 games since the turn of the year. Arsenal, who travel to Brighton today, trail runaway leaders City by 30 points. They are also 30 points behind the 75 they achieved last season.

Asked if this season was worse than last year's campaign, Wenger said: "It is, because last year we won the FA Cup and made 75 points. I don't deny that. We analyse that at the end of the season and don't worry, I can live with reality."

The Frenchman added that he knew the visit of in-form City on Thursday would be a "problem", because the confidence of his players had been shattered by last weekend's League Cup final defeat.

"When you lose a cup final and you play the same team three or four days later, you have always a problem," Wenger said. "I knew that before the game. On top of that, it's a top side, top quality, so I knew it could be a difficult game."

Asked if the League Cup defeat, and the criticism that followed, should have made his players determined to prove a point, Wenger added: "One team is in full confidence and one team is still on a low. On top of that, they have to face a media storm that does not contribute or help, and the other side got plaudits. Confidence is a big part of the game."

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