Wenger wary of Norwich threat

BY foxsports • November 18, 2011

The Gunners have climbed the Premier League table with four successive wins, as well as topping their Champions League group and reaching the Carling Cup quarter-finals. It is a stark contrast to the end of September, where three defeats from the opening five games - including an 8-2 mauling at Manchester United - had seen them sink as low as 17th. Wenger, himself subject of a UEFA touchline ban as the team battled past Udinese into the group stages of the Champions League, knows the importance of picking up from where his men left off before the international break when they head to Carrow Road for Saturday's lunchtime kick-off. He said: "The championship is vital for us that we come back from where we were. "We came from Hell and if we have learned something, it is to put 100% effort in every single game. "We just grabbed the momentum recently. The team is getting stronger from game to game so overall I expect that momentum to keep going and for us to go from strength to strength." The Arsenal manager added: "We have the confidence from a good run. After that it is down to being professional. "A professional is capable of focusing on his targets and that is where we can show that. We need to focus again very quickly on our run." Wenger insists he will resist the temptation to give the likes of in-form captain Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott a rest as the Gunners target maximum points. He said: "We are in a situation where every game is becoming extremely important and is becoming a big test. To repeat the performance we had at Chelsea is very important for us. "Norwich are a very good side and I consider them a difficult Premier League away game. "They are a dynamic side who plays quick and dynamic football, so if you are not completely focused and up for it, you have no chance against them. "We are warned that we need to be at our best." The Canaries have impressed on their return to the top flight after a six season absence, climbing from League One under Paul Lambert. Wenger believes all three of the promoted teams have brought something extra to the campaign. "There is always a Premier League surprise package every year, and this season we have three instead of one," the Arsenal manager said. "QPR, Norwich and Swansea are doing extremely well and it just shows you that the style of play has changed in the Championship. "You see from the teams that have come up that the level has gone up in the lower divisions. "I could feel that even in the FA Cup games against League One teams which were very difficult games." With Kieran Gibbs set for several weeks out after a hernia operation and Carl Jenkinson having a stress fracture in his back, Arsenal are short of cover in defence, given Bacary Sagna is also sidelined because of a broken ankle. Laurent Koscielny or Johan Djourou could be moved over to the right, with Per Mertesacker able to partner Thomas Vermaelen in the centre. Wenger was happy to report no other fresh injury problems from the international break. However, England midfielder Jack Wilshere will not be rushed back into action after coming off his crutches for the first time since surgery on his ankle two months ago. "We have no chance to get Wilshere back before the new year," Wenger said. "The only positive thing is the X-ray after six weeks, which was a vital one, looked very positive and very good. "So he will be on time, his surgery went well, his healing is going well, but still there is no chance before the middle or end of January."


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