Wenger eyes festive push

The Gunners seemed destined for a poor campaign when they won just
one of their opening five matches, but the squad rallied behind
under-fire boss Wenger to drag the team back up the table with a
seven-match unbeaten run. That sequence only came to an end last
week with a 1-0 defeat at Manchester City, where Wenger was furious
to see Robin van Persie’s second-half goal disallowed for offside.
The festive period proved fruitful for the Gunners last term as
they beat Chelsea and drew with City, and this year, having climbed
to fifth place, they face much easier opponents in the form of
Wolves, QPR and Fulham. Nevertheless, Wenger knows a slip-up could
cost Arsenal dearly as they are just two points ahead of
sixth-place Liverpool and he has urged his team to retain their
focus for the rest of the festive campaign. “We know we have an
opportunity to gain a better position on the table. It’s down to us
to do our job,” Wenger said. “In the Premier League the Christmas
period is vital to get your points. “We have responded well to our
defeat at Man City with a win at Aston Villa, so now it’s down to
us to do the job at home and get the points against Wolves on
Tuesday. “Every game has its own difficulty so what is important
for us is to focus on our own game and perform well. “In the
Premier League if you don’t focus then you don’t win, so let’s
focus on our next game and try to win it. “We have learned that you
win only if you are at your best. That’s the difficult, to combine
the Christmas period with focus.” A London Underground strike has
caused the Gunners to put the game against Mick McCarthy’s team
back by 24 hours. That means the Arsenal players will have
Christmas Day off, but Wenger has warned his squad that they will
face a tough task when they return to action at the Emirates
Stadium two days later. McCarthy came under fire as Wolves started
slowly and the Midlands outfit sit just one point above the drop
zone having taken one point from their last two games against
Norwich and Stoke. Despite his team’s superiority, Wenger is
expecting a tough game, however. “Wolves are a side that plays good
football,” Wenger said. “They always look dangerous going forward
and they make it tough for everybody. They have the Mick McCarthy
spirit and attitude, they never give up. “They play a very positive
game so we know what to expect. They fight to stay in the league
and you know it is always an intense game against them. They are
dangerous, of course, they make life difficult for everybody.”