LONDON, November 30 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has once again urged Gunners' fans to "keep faith" with his young side ahead of their English League Cup quarter-final against Wigan on Tuesday.The north London club have not won a major trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 2005.
Arsenal, in the intervening five years, have played some of the most attractive football in England, with Wenger repeatedly insisting the club’s future is bright.
But for some Arsenal fans who believe their club loses little in history or tradition compared to the likes of Manchester United or Chelsea, the Frenchman’s assurances of a better tomorrow are starting to wear a bit thin.
At some point promise has to become achievement if it is not to turn into disillusionment and for many Arsenal supporters that time is now.
Last weekend’s 4-2 league win over Aston Villa meant Arsenal avoided a third straight defeat after blowing a two-goal lead against north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and losing 2-0 to Portuguese side Sporting Braga, a defeat that left them still short of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages.
"For over two months we have played every three days, and part of that is sometimes you have ups and downs. It is how you respond to that," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.
"The problem at the moment is that when these kind of things happen, everybody is emphasising the negative sides.
"I am still quite optimistic, even if disappointed by the results.
"I have no major reason to doubt the team and the players, so even if my disappointment was huge, maybe that is why I am less down than many people because I see all the positive signs which are in my team.
"I am confident on the longer-term, like it is a marathon, that will all come out – keep with us, and keep faith with the team.
"I know their attitude is spot on, I know they have the quality – and we will not always lose games where the opponent only has one shot on goal."
Wenger insisted he would take the League Cup tie "seriously" but he also said: "I have to consider how many games my players play.
"For six weeks we have played every three days with Champions League and internationals.
"I will consider who needs to play and who needs to rest."
The likes of strikers Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner, on the bench against Villa, could feature when Wigan come to the Emirates Stadium but Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas (hamstring) and centre-half Sebastien Squillaci (knee) have both been ruled out of the tie.