Wenger demands fearless approach
Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal must show no fear when they look to get their faltering Barclays Premier League title bid back on track with victory at arch-rivals Tottenham on Wednesday night.
The Gunners now find themselves seven points behind leaders Manchester United, who drew 0-0 at Newcastle on Tuesday night.
That gap should have been smaller but for what striker Robin van Persie described as another "criminal" lapse in defensive concentration, which cost Arsenal when Liverpool netted a penalty at the end of stoppage-time just minutes after the Gunners thought they had scored the winner from the spot. "We have not to go with any fear into that game," Wenger said.
It was another bitter disappointment in a six-week spell which has seen Wenger's men lose the Carling Cup final at Wembley before crashing out of both the Champions League and FA Cup, while a string of frustrating draws has now left the destiny of the title out of their own hands.
Wednesday's clash at White Hart Lane, where Arsenal won their Carling Cup tie 4-1 after extra-time earlier this season, is sure to be another high-octane affair. This time last season, the Gunners went down 2-1 following a thunderous 30-yard volley from Danny Rose.
Wenger, though, maintained his men must not worry about the consequences of another defeat. "We have to go with the desire to win and play," he said. "We will not stand at the back and wait for Spurs to play, we will try to play."
"It is a derby and it is a big game for us. It is a game where a lot is at stake and last year it was the same. Of course, it is a big test of character, and in my 15 years you go through a few. The time is very short to recover, it's important to recover very quickly."
Spurs fans have been enjoying bragging rights after Harry Redknapp's men came back from 2-0 down to win at the Emirates Stadium in November. Wenger is sure Wednesday's game will be another interesting encounter.
"We always play good games against Spurs, and played very well in September in the Carling Cup," he said.
"We will play our game, don't worry - we want to show we have the mental dimension to play for this club. The players want to show that and there is no better way to do that than against Spurs."