Arshavin: no time for self pity

ARSENAL forward Andrey Arshavin has implored his teammates not to dwell on Monday’s damaging defeat at Old Trafford and quickly turn their attention to Saturday’s visit of Stoke.

Ji-Sung Park’s solitary goal handed Manchester United a significant edge in the title race – Sir Alex Ferguson’s charges now hold a two point lead with a game in hand – and extended Arsenal’s lacklustre record against their main title rivals.

Despite a miserable return of one draw and 10 defeats against United and Chelsea from their last 11 games in all competitions, a win over Stoke at Emirates Stadium would see the Gunners return to the summit, with the champions and United clashing at Stamford Bridge the following day.

With the visits of Chelsea and Manchester City to north London also on the horizon, Arshavin believes Arsenal would be better served looking toward the future rather than focusing on their apparent big game paralysis.

He said: “There is no time to be melancholy or sad. We need to forget this defeat and start thinking about the next match.

“We need to prepare properly for each opponent. The championship is very interesting this year and nothing has been lost yet.

“We didn’t deserve defeat. The match was a battle. Both teams fought for the result and unfortunately we lost. We didn’t play for a draw. We simply acted responsibly in defence and looked for chances.”

FIXTURES | ARSENAL’S NEXT FIVE

Defeat at Old Trafford will be forgotten if Arsenal win their next five league games.

18 December – Stoke (h)
27 December – Chelsea (h)
29 December – Wigan (a)
1 January – Birmingham (a)
5 January – Manchester City (h)