Wenger challenges Arsenal to show more consistency



Arsene Wenger has told his Arsenal stars to show more consistency as the FA Cup holders try to get their spluttering season back on track in Sunday’s quarter-final against Watford.

Wenger’s side host the Hornets at a time when they are languishing eight points behind leaders Leicester in the Premier League and teetering on the brink of another tame Champions League exit.

On Wednesday, Arsenal must overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit in the Champions League against holders Barcelona in the Camp Nou to avoid crashing out of Europe’s elite club competition.

Most Gunners supporters would admit the FA Cup represents by far the most realistic chance of silverware after winning it for the last two seasons, but Wenger refuses to rule out a dramatic turn of fortunes both at home and abroad.

“I haven’t given up on the Premier League at all and I’ve said that many times, nor the Champions League,” Wenger said.

“We have to take care of the next minute and the next minute is an FA Cup game.

“Is it the best chance to win a trophy? It’s still far away. We must win the next game and prove that we can show consistency again.”

Losing Aaron Ramsey to injury for the rest of the campaign would be a major blow to any renewed challenge in the league, but Wenger remains adamant that his season is not at an end.

The Wales midfielder suffered a thigh injury in Tuesday’s 4-0 FA Cup fifth round replay win at Hull just 15 minutes after coming off the bench in the second half.

– Positive -When asked whether Ramsey’s season was over Wenger insisted: “I dont believe that. At the moment his clinical signs are quite positive. I would say four weeks.

“It was a bit worse than I thought because I didn’t see it.

“Usually when a player gets injured with a muscle, he stops and I did not have that feeling of precaution so I thought he would be available for Sunday.”

Per Mertesacker and fellow centre-back Gabriel also suffered injuries against Hull at a time when Laurent Koscielny is already sidelined.

“Mertesacker came off injured but should be available,” Wenger added. “Koscielny is not far.

“Will I risk him or not? There is a little medical risk but I have not made a decision yet.

“Francis Coquelin is coming back from suspension and Hector Bellerin is now available.

“My gut feeling is that Gabriel will join in tomorrow and be available.”

Arsenal beat Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road in October but the Hornets’ utility man Ikechi Anya believed his side were hard done by on that occasion.

“When we played them at home it was a false result, we were very much in the game,” he said.

“I think they had a 12-minute spell when they scored three times, and it makes you think it was a beating, but we had our chances before that.

“I’m sure with the strikers we’ve got, at the Emirates, hopefully they take their chances and we can attack them from the get go.

“We’re only one win away from Wembley, that’s a great incentive for us, and we’re all looking forward to it.

“We can go out and look to express ourselves, there’s no pressure on us, 9,000 fans are coming and we can try and make them proud.”


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