Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Arsene Wenger tells Arsenal's young guns to keep firing

Arsene Wenger has challenged his young Arsenal side to repay his faith by continuing their improvement to deliver success in 2011.

The Gunners are odds-on favourites to win the Carling Cup after beating Wigan and being drawn against npower Championship side Ipswich in the semi-finals. Wenger may have warned against complacency, but Arsenal have come through a difficult spell to give supporters genuine hope they can finally end a six-season wait for a first trophy at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal host Fulham tomorrow and after the visit of the Cottagers Wenger will aim to guide his team safely though to the knockout stages of the Champions League against Partizan Belgrade before heading to Manchester United on December 13.

By then, the Frenchman hopes his squad will still be within touching distance of the leaders, whom they now trail by just two points as well as being behind Chelsea only on goal difference.

Wenger is in no doubt if Arsenal maintain focus, then success will follow. “We are in a strong position in every single competition — that means overall the attitude is right, the spirit of the squad is right,” Wenger explained. “I am confident we have the necessary quality, so let's continue to improve.”

Arsenal rested the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski against Wigan.

Wenger expects Samir Nasri to be fit for the clash against Fulham, but is unsure whether to hand Robin van Persie his second start of the week.

“I will see how Robin recovers [before deciding whether to start him],” Wenger added. “I rotate a bit from game to game at the moment, so I will see — but we have quite a strong squad available.”

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