Football

'Time to rectify big-game record'

Wenger believes the Gunners will start beating the big teams again

RETURN: Back-frominjury Mesut Oezil getting instructions from Arsene Wenger in their 3-0 win over Stoke last Sunday. - PHOTO: REUTERS

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists his charges are matured enough now to "rectify" their record against the big teams, starting with tonight's trip to Manchester City.

The Gunners have claimed only one point from a possible 21 in Manchester, and have won away at City only once in seven games.

However, the Frenchman believes the record has no bearing on tonight's game and believes his side can get a positive result.

He said: "You have many games when you know you will be judged on your potential.

"Manchester City is one of them. Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are other games that people have a close eye on to judge your potential.

"They have always had good teams, but we have won at Manchester United, we have won at Manchester City.

"The history will not play a big part in this game. It's the performance on the day that will play the biggest part and the only important part."

The Gunners, who were leading the table at this stage last season, eventually saw their title bid fall apart due to inconsistency.

Said Wenger: "Last year, we did not win the championship only for that reason (inconsistency).

"We did not perform in the top games away from home.

"I believe we have the potential now to be much more stable and to show that we can do it.

"For many years, (our record in the biggest games) was our strength and, in the last two years, it is true that it has been a weakness. I think we are mature enough now to rectify it."

His task won't be easier as City's top scorer Sergio Aguero and captain Vincent Kompany have recovered from injuries and are set to start.

But Wenger believes his side can deal with them.

He said: "We want to have a good balance between attacking and defending because we know that City attack very well, so it's important that we do both sides of the game very well." - Wire Services.

For many years (our record in the biggest games) was our strength and, in the last two years, it is true that it has been a weakness. I think we are mature enough now to rectify it.

— Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger