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Arsenal have problems but I can fix it: Wenger


Arsene Wenger

London: Languishing mid-table, outplayed by teams he would fully expect to beat and with fans loudly questioning his judgement, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger concedes his side have problems but is adamant he is the man to fix them.

Arsenal's tepid display demonstrated how far the team has fallen since the heady days of 2004 when the 'Invincibles' went through the season unbeaten to win their 13th and last English title.

That side, which featured Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Sylvain Wiltord and Freddie Ljungberg, boasted pace and power, creativity and composure, all traits that have been lacking in recent weeks.

Prior to the Swansea loss, Wenger had pointed to the fact that four of their six league games in December would be at home and that was reason to believe his side could build some momentum and close the gap on the leaders.

Currently 10th in the Premier League after 15 games, five points behind arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur and 15 behind leaders Manchester United, Wenger knows he has his work cut out with high-flying West Bromwich Albion visiting on Saturday.

Critics have been quick to blame the sale of striker Robin van Persie to Manchester United in the close season and the poor return of his replacement Olivier Giroud, but issues lie all across the team.

The defence remains prone to errors with captain Thomas Vermaelen looking a shadow of the player signed from Ajax Amsterdam, and the midfield unbalanced without the perennially-injured Abou Diaby, who played so well at the start of the campaign.

Giroud has improved in recent weeks but has often been isolated in matches with playmaker Santi Cazorla dropping deep to link play and wingers Lukas Podolski and Gervinho forced back to help out defensively.

The Ivorian is the only one of the attacking quartet who is in Greece for the Champions League group finale against Olympiakos, with Wenger sending a novice side in order to combat the fatigue he says is affecting the team.

Defeat in Greece against a side that caused Arsenal problems at the Emirates before they prevailed 3-1 in October will not stop Wenger's men from qualifying for the knockout stages for a 13th consecutive season, but a loss will add to the growing discontent.

Widely regarded as one of the finest managers to work in England, the Frenchman revolutionised Arsenal from a team of boring efficiency when he joined in 1996 to one of the most exciting, attacking teams in club soccer.

Three league titles and four FA Cups followed before the investment dried up. Star players departed and their replacements failed to fill the gaps as rival clubs began matching Wenger's renowned scouting network.

Wenger was hailed for turning last season around when Arsenal overcame a miserable start, which included an 8-2 hammering by Manchester United at Old Trafford, to qualify for the Champions League.

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