Wilshere calls on Gunners to move on
Jack Wilshere has warned his Arsenal team-mates hopes for success next season will never be delivered if they continue to dwell on the "devastating" League Cup final loss to Birmingham City. The Gunners look set for a sixth year without a trophy as once again a campaign which promised so much has failed to deliver.
An early exit from the UEFA Champions League in Barcelona and losing an FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford quickly followed their last-minute defeat at Wembley, where a mix-up between defender Laurent Koscielny and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny allowed Birmingham's Obafemi Martins to score a dramatic winner.
Too many costly draws and a defeat at Bolton Wanderers then ended their Premier League title hopes ahead of the 1-0 victory over leaders Manchester United on Sunday. England midfielder Wilshere, 19, insists all those disappointing thoughts must be banished if Arsenal are to come good in 2011/12.
"We have to win something and we won't win if we keep thinking about those two weeks," Wilshere told the June issue of FourFourTwo magazine. "It [the Carling Cup final defeat] was devastating, even now the boys still say 'we could have got a trophy there'. There was always the psychological feeling if we won that, it would give us the confidence to win more."
Arsenal are hopeful captain Cesc Fabregas (thigh) and midfielder Samir Nasri (hamstring) can shake off injury ahead of Sunday's trip to FA Cup finalists Stoke City, where they will look to stay one step ahead of Manchester City in the bid to secure automatic Champions League qualification.
Djourou wary about 'biggest' players
Centre-half Johan Djourou went off against United, who host Chelsea in what now looks set to be a title decider, with a leg problem and will also be assessed. The Swiss defender has produced some solid performances in a campaign which has seen Arsenal's backline depleted by the loss of Thomas Vermaelen to a long-term Achilles problem.
The 24-year-old is himself no stranger to the treatment room after recovering from a serious knee injury and then dislocating his shoulder in the FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford in March. Wenger was criticised for not bringing in more experienced defensive cover during January, with the jury still out on summer signing Sebastien Squillaci.
Djourou, however, insists simply plunging into the transfer market is not the answer. "Of course you can add players if you wish, but the most important thing is making sure the players you have are progressing well together," he said to Arsenal TV Online.
"I always look at 'the Invincibles'. People forget sometimes, they say we have not won anything and we need to buy big players, but when the boss went to get Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Freddie Ljungberg people were saying 'who are they?'"
"People were asking questions and look what happened. The criticism is not always fair and that is a great example to show it because those guys have become legends. Football is not always about buying the biggest players [to] bring you glory."