Wenger warns Arsenal stars they must perform

Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal stars that their performances until the end of the season will be closely monitored, and has hinted that anyone failing to meet his expectations could be sold in the summer, reports The Guardian.

The Gunners appear in danger of falling short of Champions League qualification for the first time in 16 years, and host Reading on Saturday desperate to do what they can to close the four point deficit they have on fourth placed Tottenham.

They do have a game in hand, however, but Gunners fans are unaccustomed to still sitting outside of the Champions League qualification spots with mere weeks remaining in the season.

Speaking of his squad evaluation, Wenger said: “We have five players for the England team and 22 international players, so we have to analyse. What will decide our attitude, my attitude, is how we do now until the end of the season.

“What is important is we look at how we finish the season, how well we play – and make the decisions on who to buy and who to sell at the end of the season. This will be influenced by the way we play in our last nine games.”

The Frenchman’s position at the Emirates is being given considerable attention, and questions have been raised as to whether the squad the 63-year-old has in his possession have what it takes to ease the pressure and reach Europe’s top club competition once again.

The sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United has been highlighted as a potential cause of Arsenal’s underwhelming season, but Wenger has keen to emphasise his happiness with his current striking options, saying: “Podolski, Giroud, Walcott and Cazorla can all score goals.

“We have shared more than last year. We didn’t score less goals. Where we haven’t done it this season is in the big games. This year we are bottom of the league with the big teams. It’s difficult to know why. Not because we have been dominated. We were never inferior possession-wise, but just because, after 20 minutes, we were chasing in every game.”

Wenger has seen his injury table begin to get crowded ahead of the visit of Reading, with Abou Diaby out for 9 months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Wednesday. Jack Wilshere is also out for another two weeks with an ankle injury, and Kieran Gibbs is out with flu.

“They have gone through difficult times and have responded well,” Wenger said. “They have shown mental strength as we lost against Blackburn, Bayern and Tottenham.

“So, as well, they could be scared that the group implodes. We have shown a strong response against Bayern and Swansea, and that shows that the group is mentally strong. What is for sure is that we had some blips in this season, but we did not expect the defeats to Bradford and Blackburn.

“But, overall, the attitude of the team has been great and when everybody is here we have a strong team. What is important is to analyse where we can improve at the end of the season.”

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