Belfast Telegraph

Arsene Wenger makes big admission over ‘tired’ Chamakh

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits Marouane Chamakh's form has suffered due to a heavy workload.

Chamakh made a strong start to his debut season in the Barclays Premier League, but his influence has waned in recent weeks.

The 27-year-old free transfer from Bordeaux has failed to hit the target in his last three matches and Wenger must decide whether to rest him against Chelsea tonight.

With Robin van Persie ready to start and Nicklas Bendtner also available, Wenger has options should he decide Chamakh needs a break.

“Marouane has given a lot. He has played a lot on his own up front. He is a bit tired at the moment,” Wenger said.

“He's used to having a winter break in France at this stage of the season.

“He has played nearly every game since the start of the season. He feels that he had a little dip physically, but he's working very hard in training to come back.”

Arsenal have lost their last five matches against Chelsea, conceding 13 goals in the process.

But Wenger insists they can hold can hold their heads high against their London rivals, who sit two places lower in the table in fourth spot.

“Let's say we look at the number of points we have and we have nothing to envy,” Wenger added.

“We just need to get over that hurdle of winning a trophy. As long as the team has not won one trophy, people wonder: ‘Can we win?'.

“It's a mental thing. We have the quality, we are maybe a bit young, but not so much now. We still have to build a new team and manage to stay at the top.

“There are a lot of teams who would be happy where we are, but we want more and that's our purpose this season. Our target is to deliver and respond to the demands that people have.”

Wenger has no intention of adjusting Arsenal's approach against Chelsea just because they have struggled in the fixture in recent years.

“Somebody asked me if I'm going to play Cesc Fabregas or Robin Van Persie and I said: ‘They are ready to play',” he said.

“If you play long balls to them you will not exist, so we have to be faithful to our game. But what we need certainly is defensive stability in these games.

“The first goal is very important in these kind of matches. We have to play our game but with more belief and more dynamism instead of changing completely our style of play.

“What we missed against Manchester United and against Chelsea earlier this season was that we didn't score. That means we played with a bit of a restricted attitude.

“It's hard to get space but we have to move the ball even quicker. It's the same when Barcelona play. If they win everyone admires the way they play, but if they lose everyone says: ‘Why don't you change your style?'.

“It's very difficult to say we should go completely straight at the back and put balls into the box. We wouldn't be good at that.”

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