Arsène Wenger admits Arsenal players have confidence issue

Petr Cech will miss North London derby after injuring himself coming up for a corner

Arsène Wenger admitted his players were suffering from a confidence issue after Arsenal slumped to a 2-1 defeat by Swansea City that dented their Premier League title hopes in front of a baying home crowd. Arsenal failed to bounce back from Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Manchester United, which had triggered a sense of crisis and it was easy to see how the nervousness of the players and their supporters made for a damaging combination.

After last night’s defeat Wenger was in no mood to discuss Arsenal’s faltering push for the title. On his side’s prospects he said: “At the moment we don’t dream; we are realistic. We have to come back to positive results before we speak about championships. It’s very unpredictable. Tottenham lost tonight, Manchester City lost tonight. Everybody drops points.

“We will not talk about titles tonight. I’m not in the mood. It’s a big disappointment. We have to swallow that and bounce back. The players are very down. We have to respond.”

Wenger's team led through Joel Campbell but they were reeled in by goals from Wayne Routledge and Ashley Williams, which allowed Swansea to celebrate a vital victory in their fight against relegation.


“Was it a confidence issue? It looks a bit like that, yes,” Wenger said. “We have to focus on our job and come back to reminding ourselves that we have some quality. We have to take the fans on our side. They were ready to support us tonight. They were quite good but we faded in the game.”

Jeers greeted the substitution of Campbell with Danny Welbeck but Wenger defended his decision: "Campbell has not played for a while and he started to tire."

Wenger will be without Laurent Koscielny (calf) and Petr Cech (groin) for Saturday's derby at Tottenham Hotspur. Koscielny did not play here while Cech appeared to pull up after going forward for a last-minute corner. "Cech had a little groin problem before the game and I think he struggled a bit," Wenger said. "I don't know how bad it is. He will not play on Saturday. Neither will Koscielny."

(Guardian service)