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Feb 1, 2013

Wenger knows defence must improve

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has conceded that his side's defensive woes need to be resolved before they can realise their full potential.

The Arsenal backline looked vulnerable in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Wednesday night, and Wenger acknowledges the issue needs to be addressed.

"We have scored many goals (this season) and, even against teams like Liverpool, we had so many chances to score, but we lack the serene side of a game you need as a home team," Wenger suggested. "We produce quality football, but we don't take enough advantage of it.

"Against Liverpool, look at the numbers - the shots on goal, the penetration in the penalty area, the possession domination. You should come out with three points. We need to get the nervous side out of our game."

The signing of Spanish full-back Nacho Monreal on transfer deadline day was designed to bolster the defence, and Wenger is considering throwing him straight into the team for Saturday's game against Stoke.

Monreal's arrival raises a question mark over the future of much-maligned left-back Andre Santos. The Brazilian appears to have been demoted to third choice in his position behind the new arrival and Kieran Gibbs, who is set to be out for up to two months with a thigh strain he picked up in the Liverpool game.

However, Wenger has stressed that Santos has a future at Arsenal and has suggested he will need to be called upon when the Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich rolls around as Monreal will be ineligible to play.

"He has a future, of course," Wenger said of his Brazilian defender. "He is a style of player who needs competition (for his place). He gets sharper through competition. When you watch the games again, you will see he has done some good things, but people only remember the big mistakes.

"Kieran Gibbs won't be available for the Champions League tie, Monreal can't play, so who will play against Bayern? Thomas Vermaelen can play there, but Santos as well."

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