Wenger says Arsenal ‘back on track’ following successive morale-boosting victories
Cazorla a key figure as clinical display helps Gunners plunder three points at Fulham
Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski celebrates scoring his side’s third goal with team-mate Olivier Giroud at Craven Cottage in London. Photo: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
One week and two fine away victories on from that mutinous atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium and Arsene Wenger clearly felt he could reflect on the rancour from a position of relative strength.
The dissenters, he said, had been “brainwashed” and his team are now “back on track” as Arsenal prepare for the final week of the transfer window.
The Frenchman still aspires to sign up to three players before next Monday’s deadline, with the Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye the likeliest arrival in a deal worth up to €20million.
While Karim Benzema’s agent, Karim Djaziri, has ruled out the Real Madrid forward leaving the Bernabeu, there is interest in his team-mate Angel Di Maria.
Strengthening attacking midfield still does not feel like a priority but a new face or two will lift the mood further.
Wenger insisted he would not be re-evaluating his targets now his current players have found their feet.
Victory over Fenerbahce in Istanbul was followed by Saturday’s impressive victory at Fulham, a result that served to exorcise some of the nightmarish memories of the opening weekend loss to Aston Villa, a defeat that had prompted loud calls for the hierarchy to spend.
Wenger has since called for a sense of perspective.
“Look, we lost one game since the beginning of March,” Wenger said. “That’s why it was a shock. But we won in the Champions League at Bayern Munich. We won at Fenerbahce. It is just like that at the moment, the media in general has brainwashed a little bit the Emirates . . .
“This is about doing things well for the club I love and I am happy we are back on track.”
Santi Cazorla, restored to the line-up after international exertions, was irrepressible at Craven Cottage, wounding the home side with every dart into space or cleverly weighted pass. Lukas Podolski’s bludgeon of a left foot battered the hosts into submission.
Add to that Olivier Giroud’s third goal in three games and the first-choice line-up boasts class when confident.
Giroud is capable of mustering a touch as sublime as that in the build-up to Arsenal’s third while his crisp finish for the contest’s opening goal was a mark of quality.
Wenger stressed: “These players enjoy playing together and this is the first year when we have not been traumatised by losing players. If we can gain one, two or even three more, we will do it, but we did not play well because they are worried about their future.”