Wenger has faith in response
Arsene Wenger has backed Arsenal to learn from the weekend's display when they take on Partizan Belgrade.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 27/09/10 9:41pm
Manager Arsene Wenger has backed Arsenal to learn from the abject display against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend when they take on Partizan Belgrade on Tuesday night.
The Gunners suffered their first defeat of the season and an embarrassing one at that as the promoted Baggies left the Emirates Stadium with maximum points after claiming a 3-2 win on Saturday.
And the Premier League outfit face a daunting prospect midweek as they travel across the continent for what is set to be a highly-charged UEFA Champions League encounter in Serbia.
Partizan may have come through three rounds of qualifying to reach the group stages, but the Belgrade side are in good form, with five wins from six to top their domestic table.
Wenger though, has backed his team to rise to the challenge as they look to get their season back on track with a positive result in one of the most intimidating atmospheres in European football.
"The disappointment was very deep, but we can learn from what has happened to us," said Wenger.
"We realise that we need to be focused in every single game, produce performances in every single game and that is what I believe we have learnt from Saturday.
"I believe in the intelligence of my group players and I have no doubt in their talents.
"We will be highly motivated and will try to redress what was not right on Saturday."
Manuel Almunia - who made a number of errors - picked up an elbow injury in that game, which opens the door for reserve keeper Lukasz Fabianski on Tuesday.
Wenger continued: "For Fabianski, it is another big chance - but you want a goalkeeper or any player to grab the chance when you get it.
"As a manager you can give a chance to a player who is good enough and I believe in his talent.
"He gets another opportunity to show how good he is. I want him to show how good he is.
"There is only one way to show confidence in a player and that is to put him on the pitch and give him his chance."
Stadion FK Partizan will be at boiling point come kick-off on Tuesday night, as 'The Gravediggers' look to extend Arsenal's record of failing to win away in the Champions League since last September.
The Serbians, though, have something of a chequered history of crowd trouble and were thrown out of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup for clashes in a qualifying tie against Zrinjski Mostar.
And in September last year, a Toulouse fan died in hospital after being injured following violence in a bar ahead of the two sides' Europa League tie.
Indeed, Partizan went as far as issuing a plea for calm on their own website, declaring "this is our chance to wipe out ugly traces of the recent past and we shouldn't miss this opportunity."
Wenger, though, is confident the game can pass without incident.
"We are always inside the stadium, so I do not know what is happening outside, I leave that to UEFA and to the Serbian authorities. I am sure they will do that very well," he said.
"Serbia is a traditional football country, which has produced many fantastic players.
"They know sport, they know football and I believe it will be very passionate because they are very passionate football people."