Arsene Wenger is remaining calm despite his Arsenal side having suffered a major blow to their title chances with a 5-1 mauling at the hands of Liverpool at the weekend. Arsenal will be back in action on Wednesday with a chance to make amends against Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium. And Wenger believes a sense of perspective is necessary when reflecting on the loss last time out.
“Every defeat creates a difficult moment, [but] it could have been worse,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “After Aston Villa, nobody would have put us in the position we are in today. So we have to believe that not everything is perfect - because no, it is not. But we also have to put everything into perspective.
“After a big disappointment like that you always sit there, thinking, ‘Do I make five or six changes or do I give them a chance to show it was just an accident?’ And most of the time you give the players a chance, especially if they have done well before.”
Wenger has reasons not to panic, despite what was a disastrous day at Anfield in which his side were 4-0 down inside 20 minutes. After their two other big defeats this season in the Premier League, against Aston Villa and Manchester City, Arsenal responded by going 12 and 10 games unbeaten, respectively. Arsenal also have the chance to return to the top of the Premier League with a win, following Chelsea’s draw with West Brom on Tuesday.
Yet, if Wenger is justified in his call for perspective, his counterpart has every reason to feel uneasy about the state of affairs. Sunday’s draw with Fulham will have felt every bit like a defeat and was arguably the lowest point yet of David Moyes’ thus far disastrous reign at Old Trafford. Rather than things improving, 2014 has started abysmally. Having exited both domestic cup competitions, United have lost more matches than they have won in the Premier League.
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What would have been a bare minimum expectation at the start of the season, finishing in a champions League place, is now looking increasingly out of reach. The champions go into Wednesday’s encounter nine points behind fourth-placed Liverpool. When asked about both teams’ need to respond at the Emirates, Moye was understandably focused on what his own side has to do.
“You can only ever look after your own team," Moyes told MUTV. "We have to respond after losing a goal in the last seconds to draw when we should have won.
"Our players are hurting and are desperate to put it right. What Arsenal do is down to Arsene Wenger and his team. We need to get back to being resilient and hard to beat. We need to keep persevering and doing the right things."
Moyes has revealed that there is a chance that both Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jones could be involved. Still, it would be a surprise were either, especially Fellaini, included in the starting lineup. Arsenal continue to be without Aaron Ramsey and Kim Kallstrom through injury, while fellow midfielder Mathieu Flamini completes his three-match suspension. Young striker Yaya Sanogo is back in contention for the first time since September.
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League encounter will kick off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBCSN, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.