But the Gunners’ boss has insisted it is not the fault of new assistant manager and former Arsenal defender Steve Bould, who took the plaudits for their seemingly improved defensive displays at the start of the season.
Arsenal kept an impressive 3 clean sheets in their first 3 games but have since hemorrhaged 16 goals in all competitions.
“It’s not Steve Bould’s fault,” insisted the Arsenal manager.
The North Londoners now travel to Old Trafford on Saturday for their Premier League title showdown with Manchester United. United won 8-2 in the corresponding fixture last season – Arsenal’s worst defeat in Arsene Wenger’s tenure.
United now also boast last season’s PFA and PWA Player of the Year – Arsenal’s former top goalscorer Robin van Persie who is currently tied as the league’s top scorer on 7 seven goals with Newcastle United’s Demba Ba.
Wenger admitted his team’s poor defensive displays are a cause for concern.
“When you’re 4-0 down after minutes you cannot say all is well on that front.”
“You have to give credit as well to the offensive quality in the Premier League and to the offensive quality of Reading the other night. It’s not always about your weaknesses, it’s about strengths as well.”
Both of Arsenal’s former defensive legends Steve Bould and Tony Adams were at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night – and at 4-0 down, the despair on their faces was telling, along with Wenger’s.
If Arsenal continue to ship goals on Saturday, they might find themselves out of the title race before Christmas.
“It’s not only down to work – we have worked last year as well and people forget that last year had the team with the least shots against us in the league.”
The Gunners will likely have no better an opportunity to test their team’s defensive qualities this weekend. Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez are all available for Sir Alex Ferguson’s selection.
The former Arsenal hitman will likely be desperate to score against his old club, despite Wenger’s hope that there is not animosity between the former captain and the fans.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald