By Declan Taylor
Arsène Wenger has identified the pivotal week of this rollercoaster season.
With a Champions League Semi-Final and a FA Cup Final berth up for grabs this week, the next seven days has already been described as “defining” by Wenger. However, the manager pinpointed two games in November as the season’s turning points.
A week after losing 2-0 against Aston Villa, Arsenal were comprehensively beaten by a Robinho-inspired Manchester City at Eastlands. But, eight days later, Robin van Persie struck twice for Arsenal as they came from behind to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. And, in between those two games, the Gunners overcame Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League Group Stage to book their place in the next round.
For Wenger, it was the week when his young side stabilised after an up-and-down start to the campaign.
“The victory against Chelsea might not have been a corner stone for the team but it was definitely the game which brought us stability,” the manager declared.
“The main issue, the most worrying game, was the 3-0 defeat at Manchester City. It was one defeat too many.
“What was clear for me was our defensive weakness. We could feel the pressure on high balls and we needed to strengthen our midfield. We were far too open.
“[After beating Chelsea] I told myself that my team wasn’t not going to sink totally and our defeats were more a result of an imbalance between defence and attack than the team’s lack of spirit or talent.”Copyright 2014 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 14 Apr 2009