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Wenger looking for Gunners to reload against Swansea

Updated: 2014-03-25 07:23
By Agence France-Presse in London ( China Daily)

Arsene Wenger has challenged his Arsenal flops to make amends for one of the most humiliating defeats of his career when they face Swansea on Tuesday.

Wenger's side suffered an embarrassing 6-0 thrashing at Chelsea on Saturday that brutally exposed its claims to be genuine contenders for the Premier League title.

The Arsenal boss had hoped to celebrate his 1,000 match in charge of the Gunners with a first victory over Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in a game that had major implications for the title race.

But instead a day that had the potential to be one of the more memorable of Wenger's illustrious career ended in a statistical nightmare as Arsenal slumped to its biggest defeat against Chelsea and one of the heaviest losses of the Frenchman's near 18-year reign in north London.

Chelsea demolished Arsenal's fragile defense with three goals inside the first 17 minutes, after which the visitors played with 10 men after the dismissal of Kieran Gibbs in a case of mistaken identity by referee Andre Marriner, who confused the Arsenal leftback with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain following the midfielder's hand ball on the goal line.

Arsenal is now languishing in fourth place, seven points behind leader Chelsea, and with morale at a low ebb after a result that Wenger conceded was one of the worst moments of his managerial career.

But Wenger believes the Gunners can erase the bitter taste of that loss on Tuesday when they play their game in hand on Chelsea against Swansea at Emirates Stadium.

"What is important is to give a response on Tuesday night and that is it. I don't believe it is the time to talk too much about what went wrong," Wenger said.

"The players are deeply disappointed, but now I think it is time to prepare for the next game. We can win the next game, so that is what we have to focus on now - to give a strong response."

"The referee made a mistake because he missed the identity of the player; he did not seen what happened at all," Wenger continued. "Maybe it was a penalty, but it was not Gibbs."

Meanwhile, Swansea has worries near the bottom of the table as it has not won since Garry Monk's first match in interim charge in early February, after the dismissal of Michael Laudrup.

The south Wales club has picked up just five points from six games to leave it just four points above the relegation zone.

(China Daily 03/25/2014 page24)