Wenger backs Gunner forwards
Arsene Wenger has insisted Arsenal's misfiring forwards will come good to help end the club's four-year trophy drought.
The Gunners, who face Fulham tomorrow, are unbeaten in 14 matches following the midweek UEFA Champions League win over Roma. However, they have endured three consecutive goalless draws in the Premier League, and last scored at home in the league on 10 January against Bolton Wanderers.
That inability to convert chances has proved costly, with Arsenal slumping into fifth place in the table. They will also pay the price for missing chances to put the tie beyond Roma's reach should the Italians overturn the 1-0 deficit in next month's second leg.
Wenger nevertheless remains confident that his forwards will rediscover their top form soon, because he allows them to play without fear of failure. "We do not put any special pressure on a guy who misses a goal chance," said the Frenchman.
"The bigger you make a problem, the bigger it becomes. We remind them they have the quality. I remember teams who concede goals in the final five minutes and the more you say to them, 'we don't want to concede goals in the last five minutes', the more it becomes a problem and the more you concede goals.
"So you just have to be natural, spontaneous and believe in what you do and your ability. Sometimes you have to take a distance from a problem and just think, 'lets play well'. We have scored plenty of goals and it happens to any team to have a spell where you score a little bit less."
Nicklas Bendtner has been especially guilty of squandering opportunities, and young Dane is becoming a target for frustrated Arsenal fans. Wenger, though, insists he would be more worried if the striker was not getting in scoring positions.
"He is 21 years old, playing at the top level and creating chances. The problem at that level is if you don't create chances," he said. "He wants to work and he is becoming very professional. Before he was a little bit easy going. He realises now what it takes to be a top-class player. He works very well and for me he has a bright future."
Although Arsenal are six points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, Wenger, who welcomes back Andrei Arshavin after the Russia midfielder was ineligible against Roma, expects the Gunners to finish in the Champions League places. "In football, nothing is unthinkable, but I am confident we will make the Champions League," he said.
"There are 12 games to go. If we keep our consistency, spirit and attitude, and our focus, we will make it. It is down to us to be consistent. We have 36 points to take, so let's not speculate too much on the weakness of any other team. If we win our games, we will be there."
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