Gunner Szczesny says sorry
The Gunners' 2-1 home defeat by Aston Villa leaves them in real danger of being overtaken by FA Cup winners Manchester City in the race for automatic Champions League qualification after a third loss in the past four games. Since suffering a dramatic last-minute defeat to Birmingham in the Carling Cup final at Wembley, Arsene Wenger's men have recorded just three wins in all competitions as swift exits from Europe to Barcelona and the FA Cup at Old Trafford followed before a total collapse of their Premier League title bid. Although Szczesny accepts it has been a hugely disappointing end to a campaign which promised so much, the 21-year-old insisted those bitter experiences would stand the squad in good stead to achieve long-overdue success in 2012. "I totally understand the frustration of the fans, and we apologise for our lack of trophies this season," Szczesny said. "This is one of the biggest clubs in the world and we should be winning trophies every year." The Poland goalkeeper added: "We will have much more desire next season as we know how close we were this season to win the Carling Cup and Premier League. "That gives us more motivation and desire to go for it next year, and obviously we will be one year more experienced compared to what we were this year." Wenger suggested the shock defeat by Birmingham 10 weeks ago dealt his young side a psychological blow from which they never really recovered. It was a defensive mix-up between Szczesny and centre-half Laurent Koscielny which gifted Obafemi Martins a dramatic winner at Wembley. However, the 21-year-old goalkeeper insists the players should have been able to put that out of their minds as they chased down United in the Premier League. "If you ask my opinion, I put it behind me straight away and I was focused on all the games coming up," Szczesny said. "Obviously I was disappointed not to win the Carling Cup, but for me it made no difference to what happened after. You have to ask the other players what they thought about it. "I think when we lost the Carling Cup we still had a very good chance to win three trophies, and we are disappointed that we didn't." Szczesny has at least gone some way to resolving Wenger's keeper dilemma, producing some consistent displays and not allowing his Wembley error to become a reoccurring nightmare after being brought into the side because of injury to Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski. "Obviously I am happy to be playing for Arsenal and I am trying to do my best, but if we look at this season we never won a trophy, so it is disappointing for me," he said. "I think we have the quality to be winning the Premier League. "It is just a matter of can we make that next step?" Despite seeing victories over Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United this season, the fans - who next season face a 6% hike in ticket prices - have ultimately been short-changed as once again a campaign which promised so much failed to deliver. Wenger accepts the fans have the right to vent their frustrations following a sixth campaign without a trophy, but again called for them to trust in his vision for the young team. "We are sorry for the supporters not to give them what they expect from us," he told Arsenal TV Online. "We want to make our fans happy, so when we do not manage to do it, of course we are not happy."