ARSENAL defender Johan Djourou admits tomorrow’s Carling Cup third round tie at home against League Two minnows Shrewsbury has assumed increased significance following Saturday’s capitulation at Blackburn.
The Gunners twice held the lead at Ewood Park, but a defensive horror show, which featured own goals from Alex Song and Laurent Koscielny, contributed to a scarcely comprehensible 4-3 defeat.
Manager Arsene Wenger has traditionally used the Carling Cup to blood his youngsters, but after Saturday’s events Djourou, a half-time substitute for the injured Bacary Sagna against Blackburn, believes his side must use the competition as a way of recovering from a third league defeat of the season.
“Even if it is at home in the Carling Cup, we want to win so we need a big response tomorrow,” said the Swiss international.
“We have to bounce back because we have another game and we have to be ready for those. We are disappointed but there is still a long way to go and things are not over yet.
“We had many chances to put the game to bed in the first half and, when you don’t do that, you are always in danger of getting punished. I think that is what happened.”
CARLING CUP HANGOVER
Arsenal have made their worst start to a season under Arsene Wenger, but the current malaise can be traced back to the Carling Cup final defeat by Birmingham in February. Since then Arsenal’s league record reads: P16 W3 D7 L6 F21 A30 GD -9 Pts 16. Moreover, only Sunderland and Bolton have a worse points per game average over the same period.