The Independent London Newspaper
18th July 2018

Wenger urges Arsenal bounce-back

    Published: 27 October, 2016
    by STEVE BARNETT

    ARSENE Wenger says that he believes in the “strong group” of players that he has assembled at Arsenal, and is tipping them to show that strength at Sunderland on Saturday following the disappointment of dropping points in their previous Premier League outing. 

    The Gunners saw a run of seven straight wins come to an end at the weekend when they were held to a goalless draw by Middlesbrough at the Emirates Stadium. 

    Wenger already saw the strength within his second string when a much-changed side beat Reading 2-0 on Tuesday night in the EFL Cup. 

    Now the Frenchman is expecting his first-team regulars to do the same on Saturday at the Stadium of Light. “It’s about how you deal with disappointment and how you bounce back, and I believe that the group is strong enough,” he said. 

    “We lost the first game against Liverpool and after that we bounced back in a very strong way so that’s what we want to do again.

    “We had 75 per cent possession against Middlesbrough but we couldn’t finish enough our combination play,” he added. “We lacked a bit of speed and freshness in what we started, and at the end of the day it was a frustrating nil-nil. 

    “At least we were intelligent enough not to lose it, though, because in the first half we were under threat a few times. At the end of the day we got the point. It is not enough, of course, but it is still a point.” 

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could have earned himself a place in the starting line-up this Saturday after scoring both goals in the midweek win over Reading. Olivier Giroud is expected to be back on the bench after getting 30 minutes under his belt on Tuesday, but the game comes too early for Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, who are on the brink of returning following their respective hamstring and Achilles injuries. 

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