Wenger desperate for glory

The Gunners headed to Braga for tomorrow’s Champions League Group H
clash still smarting from blowing the chance to go top of the
Premier League after Tottenham fought back from 2-0 down to claim
victory at Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Wenger was fuming at the
manner of his team’s capitulation against their fierce rivals,
throwing a water bottle to the floor in the dugout while also
reading his players the riot act after the final whistle. And while
he may have since found some positives in analysing the defeat
after emotions had calmed, Wenger insists his desire for the latest
generation of Arsenal stars to deliver a first trophy since 2004
burns as fierce as ever. “I want this team to win so much that I am
giving every drop of my blood to make sure this team wins,” Wenger
said. “I want them to be successful because they deserve it, so of
course it hurts when you get so close as we did on Saturday and you
do not manage to do it. “I just feel we have had two or three
opportunities to be top of the league and we did not take it for
different reasons. “But what is encouraging from Saturday is that
we turned up with a performance, and also we paid a bit for players
being away midweek and we had problems to maintain the focus,
concentration and intensity of our game tactically. “Of course we
have huge disappointment in the way we lost the game. It was not
rational how we lost a game of that magnitude leading 2-0. “The way
we conceded the goals, that leaves us with many regrets. “It is
certainly down to something. Sometimes we are easing up in games
because maybe subconsciously we feel we need to go through the
motions and sometimes there is a more subtle subconscious feeling
that we have not won yet and we get a bit nervous when we have to
become really concrete. “But on the other hand, the way the game
was run should not make us doubt ourselves because, after the game,
it should strengthen our feeling that we have a very important part
to play in this league.” The defeat to Spurs was partially offset
by Chelsea’s loss at Birmingham later in the day. Arsenal dropped
to third in the table after Manchester United beat Wigan, but
remain just two points behind the leaders. “It is a rollercoaster
season,” Wenger added. “Just when you think that a team is solid
and will go on a run, suddenly they lose a game nobody expected
them to lose. “It is difficult emotionally and nervously for every
single manager, but on the other hand, for the people watching it
makes it even more interesting. “At this stage of the season, I
have never seen a league as compact. “Nobody manages to be really
consistent, apart from Manchester United, they are consistent
without too many wins, they have many draws and have not lost yet.”
Arsenal travelled to Braga – via Spain because of Portugal’s
general strike this week – without defender Gael Clichy, who has a
minor back problem, while both Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie
were also left in London to recover fitness. England international
Kieran Gibbs is set to stand in at left-back while Denmark striker
Nicklas Bendtner is also in contention. Braga were swept aside 6-0
in north London in September, but could go level with the Gunners –
currently top of the group on goal difference from Shakhtar Donetsk
– with victory in the AXA Stadium. After Arsenal let a lead slip in
their last away European tie in Ukraine a fortnight ago, Wenger
will not accept any complacency tomorrow against the team which
knocked both Celtic and Sevilla out of the qualifiers. “A game away
from home in the Champions League is a different game than at
home,” he said. “Braga has a good side that in the first 20 minutes
of the home game impressed me. “With what happened to us against
Spurs everyone will be focused and want to perform at our best. We
know we have an opportunity to qualify and people expect us also to
bounce back.”