Wenger wants Gunners to show spirit

The Gunners remain five points behind leaders Chelsea and dropped

down to third place following a bitterly disappointing 1-0 home

defeat by Newcastle yesterday. Wenger was left as frustrated as the

Emirates Stadium faithful by his team’s inability to open up the

well-organised visitors, with Andy Carroll’s header on the stroke

of half-time proving enough to take away all three points. Arsenal

also lost at home to West Brom before the last international break,

with lessons clearly not learned despite the likes of Cesc

Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie all back in action for

the misfiring Gunners. Wenger feels the trip to Molineux offers the

players a swift opportunity of redemption. “We have to pick

ourselves up,” the Arsenal manager declared. “We are ambitious, and

that is why we have to get our spirit on this [Wolves] game, focus

again and come back with points.” Wenger told Arsenal TV Online: “I

concede it was not one of our better days against Newcastle, but it

was also very harsh to lose the game as well because they had one

shot on target and we had a few chances. “It was down to who made

the first mistake. “We got caught on a set-piece and that is where

we were guilty.” The Gunners boss knows Emirates Stadium must now

become a fortress, as it has in Europe. “At the moment, we are not

happy with our home form,” he said. “Our performance was not there

to be a contender, that is why we have to improve our

performances.” Wenger felt Fabregas was a “bit restricted” against

Newcastle, having missed the midweek Champions League defeat away

to Shakhtar Donetsk because of concerns over his hamstring, while

conceding Van Persie was not ready for a return as the Holland

striker came off the bench for the final half-hour having not

featured since August because of an ankle injury. Goalkeeper Manuel

Almunia is closing in on full match fitness following his elbow

injury, and given the indecisiveness of stand-in Lukasz Fabianski

which allowed Carroll to head home a deep free-kick from Joey

Barton, the veteran Spaniard could come straight back into the

side. “In the number of games Fabianski has played, he has done

very well,” Wenger told BBC Sport. “However, he was too confident

to get that ball without any challenge and that punished him.”

Russian winger Andrey Arshavin will be hoping to start at Molineux

after he looked sharp as a second-half substitute against

Newcastle, but midfielder Samir Nasri (calf) is a doubt.

Centre-half Laurent Koscielny will, unless Arsenal win an appeal,

serve a two-match ban for his late dismissal, when shown a straight

red card by referee Mike Dean for hauling back Nile Ranger on the

touchline. Wenger lamented: “It was not only harsh, but not right.

“You look at the situation again, [Sebastien] Squillaci is

completely covering Koscielny. “It has to be a clear goalscoring

opportunity and you have to be the last man – it was not one and

not two, so it is completely harsh.”