Wenger calls for Gunners to step up


LONDON, December 24 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called on his players to end their poor run of results against the Premier League's best teams as they prepare to face Chelsea next week.Wenger’s men have suffered five straight defeats to the Blues in recent games, leaking 13 goals in the process.

Fresh doubts about Arsenal’s ability to mix it with the best sides were raised last week after a 1-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Wenger insisted that while he was not concerned by Arsenal’s form in crunch matches, it was time for the Gunners to step up.

"Of course we have a point to prove given our record against the big teams," Wenger said Thursday. "You have to show that you are up to the level expected from you in these games.

"We don’t really think about the record because the statistics are history and every game is a new start. Every player has lost a game before he has won one. One day, he wins. We have to make sure for us that day is on Monday.

"Our statistics recently are against us because we have a very young team."

Wenger believes all that is preventing his team from putting together a serious title challenge is confidence.

"It’s good to feel that there is no difference between both teams but it’s better to beat them and we are conscious that we have to add something that is a cold, determined attitude and belief that was missing a little bit.

"Having said that, at Chelsea and Man United this season, we conceded first to unbelievable goals so it’s important that we are tight defensively against them," Wenger said.

Meanwhile, Wenger ruled out a dramatic return to action for injured centre-half Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian defender, who is suffering from an Achilles injury, will not return until January.