Arsene Wenger says Arsenal must keep confidence high in rough patch
LONDON -- Arsene Wenger has urged his Arsenal players to "keep confidence in our game" despite another disappointing draw on Wednesday, saying their lack of scoring is only temporary.
Arsenal were held 0-0 at West Ham for their third straight Premier League game without a win, following a 3-1 loss to Manchester United and a 1-1 stalemate at Southampton.
The Gunners have dominated possession in all three of those games, but with precious little to show for it, and Wenger insisted they're only going through a rough patch and that there's no need for drastic changes.
"This is a moment where our performances are not reflected by the results," Wenger told a news conference. "Because against Man United we had 33 shots on goal and we didn't win the game. At Southampton we had a lot of possession, and it was a similar game to tonight.
"It's true, it's a bit frustrating but we have to keep confidence in our game. We go through a patch where there is a difference between what we create and what we score. But that will not last."
The result left the Gunners in seventh place, although still just one point away from fourth. They are now 19 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City, but Wenger still refused to admit that their title hopes are over.
"Man City are too far away to talk about the title at the moment. But it's one thing to be far away, it's another thing to give up," he said. "You don't give up. Our job is to fight as long as we can and give our best."
West Ham successfully stymied Arsenal's attack with a disciplined defensive display, with Wenger describing the game as being "10 against 10 in the final third."
And the Arsenal boss claimed David Moyes' team were helped by having one day extra rest after playing Saturday, while the Gunners were at Southampton on Sunday.
"In the final third, we had many different good opportunities but they blocked our shots," he said. "I think that's where you see, maybe if they had played on Sunday and we had played on Saturday, perhaps it would had been different on that front. Because they had more physical resources to defend with a lot decisiveness."
One positive for Wenger was the performance of Jack Wilshere on his first league start for Arsenal since May 2016.
Wenger said: "I think he had a positive performance, the first half especially he had good acceleration, he was involved in attack and he defended well, that is very important for me as well.
"For a first game, I must say it's a very positive performance.''
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.