By Matt Fortune
Arsenal are not a club in crisis, according to Steve McClaren.
With a place in the Champions League group stages at stake, the former England manager brings his FC Twente side to Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night looking to reverse the 2-0 defeat suffered in Arnhem a fortnight ago.
In between the two legs Arsenal have drawn criticism from large sections of the media for two below-par Premier League performances. But McClaren remains wary.
“I think one result and it’s called a crisis in a top four club; that is what Arsenal are,” said the former Middlesbrough boss. “They don’t get beat very often so when they do the scrutiny is more on them.
“I have seen them play in pre-season and there has been some great football. With Arsenal I think, because the way they play and the type of football they play, they cannot be 100 per cent all the time. On their day they are capable of taking apart anyone.
“I always used to say ‘don’t judge over two games’. Arsenal have quality in their side, they have injured players to come back - Fabregas will make a big difference – so crisis at Arsenal? No!”
FC Twente start their domestic campaign with a trip to Roca JC on Saturday. McClaren believes facing one of Europe’s elite is the perfect foundation for the upcoming Eredivisie.
“Young players Theo Janssen and Chioke Tiote, people like that, this is a fantastic experience for them, playing against Arsenal, in Emirates Stadium. For the future this will make them better players.
“I think all the players, after the first-leg, had a lot of belief that they could compete, play good football, create chances and they did, it was a very even game.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 27 Aug 2008