By Richard Clarke

If Arsène Wenger was annoyed at full time on Saturday, he will be doubly frustrated throughout this week.

The Arsenal manager could find “no rational explanation” for his side’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa at the weekend and knows he will not be able to properly address their problems until Friday. That’s because the vast majority of his first-team squad will be on national duty.

“It is frustrating we can’t pick them up because of the international week,” said the manager. “At some stage, we would have liked to focus on something different then come back and re-focus again.”

Saturday’s defeat was as surprising as it was disappointing given that Arsenal appeared to have turned around their season with victory over Manchester United a week earlier and then built on it with another exhilarating Carling Cup win.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Wenger went on. “We won on Saturday and Tuesday and were on a high. But you felt there was no energy left in the side.

“I don’t have a rational explanation because we tried to make sure that everybody was on top of their game. It didn’t work. Maybe it’s down to the quality of Villa’s performance, I don’t know.”

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17 Nov 2008