Mathieu Flamini says Arsenal can only get better given the number of first team players currently out injured.
Unable to call on six first team midfielders for yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool, the Gunners had little choice but to list the recalled Francis Coquelin and 17-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles as midfield back-up.
Asked whether Arsenal can improve their form, the Frenchman told the Evening Standard that thinking anything to the contrary ignores the potential influence of those high calibre treammates currently on the sidelines.
“It would be crazy to think the opposite because we lost so many key players and having them back is very important for the team.
“We definitely need them because in the championship and the last stages of the Champions League, you cannot do it with 11 players. You need 25 so it is important for us to have them back.
“The season is going to be long. We are only arriving at Christmas now. There are still a lot of games to go so we take one game after another and focus on the next matches. I am very confident in the team, very confident in the quality we have because we have a few top players.”
Elsewhere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, forced into action yesterday despite himself struggling with a groin problem, couldn’t hide his frustration at dropping two points so deep into stoppage time.
“It’s really disappointing for us,” he told Arsenal Player. “I don’t think we played that well today, but sometimes you need to win those games when you don’t play well, especially away from home at a hard place at Anfield.
“Liverpool set the tempo in midfield. They closed down really well but we had to expect that. We saw it out until nearly half-time and it was a blow to go 1-0 down but we responded well.
“The manager said that if we came out well in the second half by building on the goal we got late on, that we’d have a good chance of winning the game. To be 2-1 up so late on, we’re really disappointed we weren’t able to see it out.”