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50-50 Challenge: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

El Clasico 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Feb 1, 2009

Wenger: Arsenal do not need ''instant saviour''

Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal do not need an "instant saviour" in the shape of Andrei Arshavin or anybody else.

The Gunners failed to make up ground on fourth-placed Aston Villa following a goalless draw at home to West Ham, while leaders Manchester United extended their advantage to 10 points, with a game in hand.

While speculation continues over whether or not Arsenal will complete a deal to land Russian playmaker Arshavin from Zenit St Petersburg over the next 24 hours, Wenger remains resolute with the faith placed in his young team.

"We do not need an instant saviour," declared the Arsenal manager. "There is always a danger that people always want a wonder man, but I do not believe in that.

"I believe we have to keep going, and accept that the expectation level on him would be very high - if he joins us. But if he doesn't join us, then I am not more pessimistic."

Wenger added: "We also have not to go overboard with the crisis we face - let's judge our team at the end of the season."

Arsenal may have stretched their unbeaten run to ten Premier League games yesterday, but there was a sense of another opportunity to close the gap passing by.

Abou Diaby, later carried off with a thigh injury during stoppage time, saw his header deflected on to the crossbar in the first few minutes.

Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor, currently a shadow of the 30-goal striker from last season, failed to convert the two best chances of the match in the second half.

Leading scorer Robin van Persie had been left on the bench for more than an hour in an attempt to protect the in-form Dutchman, and perhaps with one eye on Tuesday night's FA Cup replay against Cardiff.

While the likes of England winger Theo Walcott could be back in contention within a month, Wenger was more cautious over the optimism expressed by captain Cesc Fabregas in his desire to be fit again from a serious knee problem and long-term Tomas Rosicky is unlikely to feature much before the end of April.

The Arsenal boss maintains everyone at the club must remain "strong and patient" as they seek to regain some ground on the sides above them.

"Manchester United bought [Dimitar] Berbatov for £31.5million and you look at the cost of their team and you will understand why [they are ahead]," said Wenger. "We can of course compete, but we have a young team and we have gone a different way.

"We go through a period where we have to accept maybe to be strong and patient a little bit. We are on a good run, but the big problem is once you are behind every point you drop looks like a disaster.

"However, if you look at our run in the last 10 to 12 games I feel the team is improving.

"We lack still a little bit of creativity and a little bit of invention but overall we are consistent, we are fighting. I am not negative about the team."

That determination to transform the undoubted potential of the young Gunners into sustained success runs deep within the squad.

Full-back Gael Clichy said: "The season is not finished yet so we have to keep going and I am sure we can still make it - but we will have to work hard now.

"It is more of the case that the other teams are better rather than Arsenal are not as good. We have the experience, we have the quality, but we have to perform from now and try to get the maximum points."

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