Gibbs: Arsenal will overcome troubles
Kieran Gibbs believes it is time for Arsenal's players to stand up and be counted following their poor start to the season. The Gunners moved into the last 16 of the League Cup last night after coming from behind to beat League Two side Shrewsbury Town 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
It was a welcome positive result for Arsene Wenger's squad, who have endured a miserable start to the new campaign, with the 4-3 loss at struggling Blackburn Rovers their third defeat in five Premier League matches. The French manager remains defiant under intense scrutiny, with chief executive Ivan Gazidis yesterday feeling the need to give him a vote of confidence. Gibbs, whose equaliser last night was his first senior goal, is in no doubt the players, who he claims are "100 per cent" behind Wenger, can turn things around.
"It has not been the easiest of months, but I can assure everyone that the team is together," the England U-21 fullback told reporters. "You can see from the stats of the games that what we are doing is right, but on some occasions we just are not getting the results.
"We are looking to turn that around as soon as possible so we can lift the club. We just have to stand up and be counted, not hide away now if the results don't go our way. We will see a change."
The Gunners have the worst defence in the top flight, having shipped 14 goals, eight of which came in a humiliating defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Wenger lambasted his backline for giving away preventable goals against Rovers on Saturday, in a match they had led at half-time and looked comfortable. Gibbs accepts things have to improve collectively.
"We bring a lot of trouble on ourselves at times, but it happens," he said. "You see other teams do it, but then they don't concede from it and it gets overlooked. But at the minute we make one [mistake] and it is a goal.
"It is unbelievable how much it is affecting us, but we will overcome it. We know we have the ability and the squad, which has gotten a lot stronger since the start of the season, and I am sure we will pick it up."
Wenger is set to recall his first-team regulars for the visit of Bolton on Saturday. The manager handed run-outs to several youngsters last night, including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who marked his first full start with a fine 25-yard strike on the hour as the Shrews faded, before fellow new signing Yossi Benayoun wrapped things up late on.
It was an impressive all-action display from the 18-year-old £10m signing from Southampton, whom Wenger expects will soon be "knocking on the door" of the first team.
Oxlade-Chamberlain said: "I haven't been on the bench as much as I would have liked recently and that is due to some quality signings. I forgot what it felt like to be out there.
"Before the game I walked out on the pitch and realised what a big stage it is - straight away I was excited and it was brilliant to be involved. I gave it my all and I hope I did well."