Despite earlier more guarded comments on the defeat to Norwich, Arsene Wenger has now admitted to being furious with his side's performance in that game. The defeat leaves the London club 12 points off leaders Chelsea and eight behind the two Manchester clubs. It may be early days in the league but so large a gap so early in the season means there is very little margin for error from now onwards.
"We gave an easy game away and I am angry. In the end, Norwich gave us a good lesson, but it is one I would rather not have," the 63 year old Frenchman said, adding, "The gap is very unpleasant. We had an opportunity that Tottenham could win and we could win, and we both lost. That of course makes the gap a lot bigger. Too many lessons like this and you stand at the end of the season with too many regrets."
The manager, who celebrates his birthday today (22 October), also complained about the lack of focus from his players, something he made an observation about earlier as well.
"We did not create enough against Norwich, that is for sure. The players weren't at their best in terms of their concentration or commitment. We have to face the reality," he concluded.
Injury Woes Could Mount
Meanwhile, Wenger is set to have more injury headaches, ahead of the Champions League home game against Bundesliga club Schalke 04.
Reports suggest 19 year old England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be unfit to face the Germans on Wednesday, after suffering a hip injury in the weekend's Premier League fixture against Norwich City. The Gunners lost the Carrow Road game 0-1, to a goal by Grant Holt. Although more tests are expected and the club has yet to make an official announcement on the injury, it may be Oxlade-Chamberlain even misses the next league game - the 27 October visit of QPR.
If the reports are true and Wenger will indeed lose Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Frenchman will be cursing his poor form with injuries. The Gunners are already without midfielders Abou Diaby, Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky, defenders Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna and goalkeepers Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski. The good news is French international may, according to the Gunners' Web site, be okay to play on Wednesday.
Arsenal are on top of Group B, with maximum (six) points from the first two games, while Schalke are second with four points. The Emirates club's disappointing defeat to Norwich is in stark contrast to the Germans' crucial 2-1 home win over rivals Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.