Wenger discusses Arsenal dip, Sagna return
Arsene Wenger feels his Arsenal players "hit the wall" in their back-to-back defeats over the past week, but has challenged them to produce a response against struggling Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. The Gunners had impressed before the international break but then slumped to a 1-0 loss at Norwich City, which left them ten points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, before putting on another lacklustre display against Schalke to lose top spot in Group B in the UEFA Champions League.
Those results contributed to a heated annual general meeting at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, where Wenger's address restored a sense of calm after chairman Peter Hill-Wood, chief executive Ivan Gazidis and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke were all heckled. The Arsenal manager believes the players can quickly change the mood with a return to winning ways.
He said: "At West Ham, we looked outstanding going forwards, dynamic, and then suddenly had two flat performances. It is difficult to explain. We have hit the wall a little bit in the last two games, and just did not find our rhythm.
"But we have to just focus again on the quality of our game, the way we want to play, and not concede too much against who we play. With the quality [we have], the results will come back.
"We have to put what happened to us on Wednesday night into perspective - we know we were not at our best, but we have lost one game in 43 home European games. An accident like that can happen. We are still in a strong position in the Champions League. What is important for us now is to bounce back and have a good result in the Premier League."
England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is hopeful of overcoming the hip injury he suffered as a substitute at Norwich, but Kieran Gibbs (thigh) and Theo Walcott (chest) remain out. Jack Wilshere could again be included in the squad as his rehabilitation from long-term injury continues, as could defender Bacary Sagna, who suffered a broken leg in May. Wenger hopes the return of the experienced France international will help ease the burden on Carl Jenkinson, whose consistent performances this season have seen him move into the thoughts of England manager Roy Hodgson.
Arsenal's longest-serving manager said: "Jenkinson has done very well, but sometimes we are a bit short in that position because Carl always has to play every single game, so we are happy to have Bac available again and his experience is important as well."
Wenger wary of QPR, Arteta rues mistakes
Despite QPR's terrible away record, Wenger insists there can be no complacency against Mark Hughes' men.
"From game to game they are improving - you can see that against Everton," he said. "You look at their team-sheet and they have good players. He is slowly turning them around."
"The way we are giving the points away is not good enough," the Spaniard commented. "We are controlling most of the games, but then we are making mistakes at certain stages of the match which are costing us points and we can't allow that to happen. When we face teams like QPR and Norwich, they seem to put in a lot of effort and make it really hard for us, but we have to bounce back."