By Rob Kelly
“My love for football is the team play and I felt the quality of our movement, the quality of the way we combined was very, very strong and when you are responsible for a team that gives you hope for the future.” - Arsene Wenger
When their backs are to the wall, Arsenal tend to come out fighting - and that was certainly the case on Tuesday night.
That it came off the back of a huge disappointment at the Hawthorns three days earlier made it all the more encouraging. Arsenal have started the process of getting back on track, now they must continue the job at Norwich on Sunday.
“I believe we were very unlucky to lose at West Brom and you have to take a distance with the result a little, even if it is really disappointing for us to lose,” Arsene Wenger told Arsenal Player.
“You have to show after that it was an accident and the way we responded on Tuesday night was therefore vital. After that the confidence can drop quickly so it was important for us to respond quickly and keep our chances alive in the Champions League.
|Norwich: Lafferty (groin),Tettey (hip), Jarvis (knee)
Arsenal: Wilshere (ankle), Welbeck (knee), Rosicky (knee), Coquelin (knee), Arteta (calf), Walcott (calf)
“Our team play was very good, we played like a team, we responded like a team and we played together. My love for football is the team play and I felt the quality of our movement, the quality of the way we combined was very, very strong and when you are responsible for a team that gives you hope for the future. The basic ingredients are there.”
Arsenal will go into Sunday’s game at Carrow Road with confidence restored and a determination to prove that the defeat at the Hawthorns was an aberration.
The stats favour them too: they have only lost once to Norwich in 13 Premier League games and have won seven of the last nine meetings.
“I’m a bit negative to analyse now the Premier League teams because you know that when you go there, it’s always a special game for them,” Wenger said. “They raise their level and all the recent history of a team doesn’t play too much of a part in it.
“You just want to [be] more focused. I think the key of the game will be more on our side than on the opponents’ side. I’ve said already - it’s not who we play, it’s how we play in these kind of games.”
ONE TO WATCH
While Alexis and Mesut Ozil dominated the post-match headlines on Wednesday morning, Joel Campbell’s performance did not go unnoticed.
The Costa Rica international has been growing in confidence since being afforded an extended run in the side and his display against Zagreb was arguably his most impressive yet.
Wenger has been particularly fulsome in his praise of Campbell’s attitude, and his sublime pass for Alexis’ second goal showed the vision and creativity that the Arsenal manager is looking for from his wide players.
“I think he did well - especially in the first half,” Wenger said. “First of all he has a genuine attitude. He is a professional and he combined very well with Ozil and Bellerin on the right wing in the first half and he had some dangerous moments.
“In the second half he gave a fantastic ball to Alexis for goal number three and that shows he has individual skill but he was always in the action.
“When you are a player that never gets a chance and then you come in and get 90 minutes throughout October and November you have to show that you are in this team and that is not easy.
“When you look at his overall performances, you cannot say that he has not done well. Overall his contribution has been great.”
Norwich may be in the midst of a run of just one win in their past eight Premier League games, but one major positive has been the form of Nathan Redmond.
|Arsenal have only lost one of their last 13 Premier League games against Norwich, and have won seven of the past nine matches between the sides
Aaron Ramsey has scored in each of his last two appearances against the Canaries in the Premier League
Ten of the last 11 goals Arsenal have scored against Norwich City in the Premier League have come in the second half
The England Under-21 international is an energetic, pacy forward with an eye for goal and the ability to create something from nothing.
Norwich manager Alex Neil has backed Redmond for a call-up to Roy Hodgson’s senior squad, and despite playing just eight times this season, he has four goals and three assists to his name.
Redmond should prove a tough test for Nacho Monreal, and Wenger is a confirmed admirer of the winger.
“He’s a young prospect who, for me, has a top individual talent,” he said. “He has pace, he is creative in his dribbling and he’s one of the players who caught my eye every time I watched the under-21s play. He gives you always the impression that he can create something special.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Copyright 2024 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.