‘It is down to the team’s balance’

Arsenal celebrate Olivier Giroud's scorpion kick against Crystal Palace

Arsene Wenger is not in “conclusion mode” when it comes to discussing this season, but he has identified the moment when our Premier League campaign started to slide.

On Tuesday, December 13, Alexis’ deflected free-kick gave us the lead at Everton. Fast forward five days and we’d lost that game and the next one at Manchester City - despite being in front again.

“It is a strange season because it just looked like it escaped from us in moments,” said Wenger. “Not for a lot. But every time, for a fraction, it went the other way. That is why it is very difficult.

“It started at Everton where we were 1-0 up. At City we were 1-0 up. And things went just against us and we could not respond.

“Our offensive numbers are good. Our defensive numbers are less convincing. And that is not down to the defenders only. It is down to the balance of the team between going forward and defending. But it is true that our offensive numbers are quite convincing.

“I am still convinced they have the right character, and it's a good moment to show it. As well, the self-esteem of a group is not set in stone. It's linked as well with the last results.

“The confidence, when linked with the last results, drops, but where the character comes in is the desire to fight against it and to fight together. And the natural tendency is to go a little bit into your shell and think a little bit more about you and not about the group.”

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