Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal’s slow start to the season can be traced back to last summer’s World Cup.
The Gunners had 12 players in Brazil, with three - Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski - winning the competition with Germany.
A number of players subsequently had fitness problems as the Premier League got underway, impacting on results.
"It took us some time to find a good balance in the team and we dropped some points because of that"
“I’ve said many times that we had big injuries at the start of the season, after the World Cup, and that we only got our squad together more recently,” Wenger said.
“Even then we still lost players like Jack Wilshere in November, and then again afterwards. We were not all together. It took us some time to find a good balance in the team and we dropped some points because of that.
“When you look at games like Stoke away, the big disappointment for us was that we had a very young defence on the day and missing players was certainly detrimental to our results.”
Arsenal have been the form team in the Premier League since the turn of the year and Wenger is pleased with the progress they have made.
“I look at it in a positive way because what you want from a team is to show during the season that you can grow together and become better,” he said.
“We faced a big challenge because Chelsea didn’t drop their level in the title race, and they were more consistent from the start until the end, and that’s why we didn’t catch them up.
“Overall we feel we have made progress.”
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