English Premiership

Wenger tells players to keep calm

2015-09-22 08:44
Arsene Wenger (AP Photo)

London - Arsene Wenger has warned his hot-headed Arsenal players not to lose their composure again when they face bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup third round on Wednesday.

Wenger's side head to White Hart Lane for the first north London derby of the season after two successive defeats featuring three red cards for the Gunners.

France striker Olivier Giroud was dismissed in last week's Champions League loss against Dinamo Zagreb, while Brazilian defender Gabriel and Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla were sent off in Saturday's painful 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.

Wenger largely blamed Chelsea's Diego Costa for provoking Gabriel into the kick that led to his dismissal.

But the centre-back has since been charged with improper conduct for his protests after being sent off and the Arsenal manager acknowledges his team need to do a better job of keeping their emotions under control even in the face of extreme provocation.

"It's true that we played the last two games with 10 men in the second half and I hope we play the next one with 11 v 11," Wenger said.

"But it's another derby and that's not guaranteed as well."

Yet there are few more testing environments in which to do that than White Hart Lane on derby day, when the hatred and bile will pour down from the stands towards Wenger's players.

Another factor that could negate Wenger's attempts to clamp down on the rash of red cards is Arsenal's desperation to get back on track after a pair of defeats that raised renewed questions about their ability to win the Premier League and Champions League.

Although the League Cup is traditionally well down Wenger's list of priorities and he often fields inexperienced starting line-ups in the competition, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey suggested he wouldn't mind skipping an evening's rest to help his club to a morale-boosting win.

"It's not good enough for a club like Arsenal to lose two games in a row," Ramsey said.

"Hopefully now we can put things right on Wednesday. It will be a feisty game with hopefully some goals in our favour."


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