SportSoccer

Wenger calls on his players to show leadership

Wenger's side need to beat Norwich on Sunday
Wenger's side need to beat Norwich on Sunday

Arsene Wenger has called on his whole side to lead Arsenal to success this season after another week of criticism for the Gunners after their defeat at West Bromwich Albion last Saturday.

Reigning champions Chelsea have struggled in the defence of their crown and languish 12 points behind Arsenal in the table, with former striker Didier Drogba earlier this week suggesting a lack of leadership among the players is one of the reasons for their poor start.

Wenger acknowledged that it is crucial to have leaders on the pitch and, with the likes of Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez he has a number of influential players but he wants everyone in his squad to play their part ahead of Sunday's game at Norwich.

"You want all 11 players to be leaders and to take initiative, communicate and transmit to other players what they see on the pitch," he stated.

"You want them to motivate the other players and be constructive and positive. That's what it's about in the leadership action."

Wenger has Aaron Ramsey available at Carrow Road while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could also be involved after both recovered from hamstring injuries.

While that still leaves fellow attacking talents like Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere sidelined, the Arsenal boss is looking at his frontmen to set the example on the pitch.

When asked who makes his side tick, Wenger replied: "Basically it's always the players who play in the final third and give the assists.

"So you look at the players who give our assists and you will see who does it. I think the best assist player at the moment is Ozil, but we have many providers.

"We have Alexis, Ramsey, Cazorla - they are all people who can create chances. You could see Joel Campbell the other night has given a great assist to Alexis. I think all our players have technical ability to do that."

Arsenal will fly to Norfolk high in confidence after a 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night which keeps their Champions League qualification hopes alive.

That followed the unexpected loss at the Hawthorns last weekend but Wenger believes that result was more of an accident that a sign of things to come as Arsenal look to maintain a title push.

"In the last 38 games when we scored first, and we were 1-0 up, we won 37 times," he added.

"In the last 25 games before West Brom, when we scored first we won 25 times. You have to consider that mathematically as an accident.

"I believe that we gave everything and that can happen. Football is as well fantastic because it's not always predictable. West Brom were well-organised and played well on the day."