Djourou: Gunners to up aggression

Djourou: Gunners to up aggression

Published Jul. 24, 2010 9:41 a.m. ET

Defender Johan Djourou has warned the rest of the Premier League to expect a more aggressive Arsenal next season.

The Gunners, currently away on a training camp in Austria, failed to stay the distance in the last title race as lapses in concentration at the back proved costly.

Arsenal leaked 41 goals - nine more than champions Chelsea and some 13 extra than Manchester United, who had the meanest rearguard in the top flight.

Djourou, however, insists that is all about to change, as the Swiss international prepares to return from a long-term knee injury.


"It is true that 41 goals is too much when you are playing for the top places," the defender told "I think sometimes we are missing a bit of aggression.

"It is not that we are not good enough, because the team is good enough. "We have top players at the back, top players all over the pitch. It is just that we have to be stronger as a unit."

Centre-back Djourou missed almost the entire campaign last season, playing just once against Fulham on the final day. The 23-year-old, though, is ready for the challenges ahead as he looks to battle summer-signing Laurent Koscielny alongside Thomas Vermaelen at the heart of the Gunners defence.

"Now it is time to step up and start," Djourou declared. "I will always say that, but now I am mature enough.

"We will have to see with the injury because when you have it for so long it is difficult to come straight back into things.

"But I played 90 minutes against Strum Graz and it went well.

"I have to get other games under my belt and hopefully I will be ready."

Djourou could get another chance to impress in Tuesday's match against Austrian Regional League East outfit SC Neusiedl 1919. The squad will then return to England ahead of the Emirates Cup, when both of Arsenal's World Cup finalists Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie will rejoin them.

After the matches against AC Milan and Celtic, Wenger will fine tune his preparations with a trip to Legia Warsaw on August 7 before travelling to Liverpool for their opening Premier League fixture.

By then Wenger will want the future of captain Fabregas sorted one way or another, as Barcelona look to lure the Spain midfielder back to the Nou Camp. With Croatia striker Eduardo having been sold to Shakhtar Donetsk following the capture of long-time target Marouane Chamakh before the World Cup, the Gunners boss is no longer on the lookout for more offensive talent.

However, Wenger does want to bolster the defence with at least one more body, as Mikael Silvestre and William Gallas have both left at the end of their contracts. 

Veteran Sol Campbell could yet return for a another season on a short-term deal, while Arsenal are also said to be tracking both Everton's Phil Jagielka and German international Per Mertesacker.