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2015 Can Be A Vintage Year For Arsenal According to Arsene Wenger


Manager Arsene Wenger remains confident 2015 can turn out to be a vintage year for Arsenal.

The rejuvenated Gunners head to Southampton on New Year's Day having taken 10 points from the Christmas schedule and on the back of just one defeat out of nine games in all competitions.

Victory at St Mary's Stadium would lift Arsenal back into the top four and leave them within striking distance of third-placed Manchester United.

Arsenal, who have a doubt over forward Danny Welbeck because of a thigh problem, hope to have the likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and eventually Jack Wilshere all fit again in the first quarter of 2015, which Wenger feels will give his squad an opportunity to deliver the consistent performances needed.

"I believe that there is a deficit between the potential we have shown and the number of points we have, that is what we want to get right," said Wenger, whose side begin their FA Cup defense against Hull on Sunday.

"Now it is time to catch back the points that we lost now until the end of the season.

"I feel we were very, very unlucky with the injuries we got, but with the number of injuries we have had, we have survived quite well.

"I feel it is nearly impossible that we will have the same bad luck on the injury front that we had in 2014.

"I believe that hopefully in the second part of the season, we will have more stability, especially defensively, to be more consistent."

Arsenal's battling 2-1 win at West Ham on December 28 saw them claw back two points on both leaders Chelsea and Manchester City.

While a late title surge looks unlikely, Wenger is determined to stay positive.

"We will fight to be as close as possible [to the top]," he said.

"You give your best and if there is a weakness in front of you, you want to take advantage of it.

"I don't know if there will be any weakness in front of us, but what I know is that we can give our best until the end of the season to have a chance to do it."

The key to Arsenal's win at West Ham was a solid defensive display as the home side pressed for an equalizer in the second half.

Wenger believes the return of Laurent Koscielny back alongside Per Mertesacker at the heart of the rearguard was crucial.

The France international, who had been troubled by a calf problem, hopes with full-back Mathieu Debuchy also now match fit again, Arsenal can build on solid foundations.

"At the back (against West Ham) we needed to be focused on our job and I think we did well," Koscielny said on Arsenal Player.

"Now the players who have been injured are coming back, so it is good for the team when you have all the players with you and fit.

"We have a bigger squad, so I hope we will not have a lot of injuries in 2015 and we can finish this season well."

With forward Olivier Giroud still suspended, Wenger could well look to give Theo Walcott a much-needed run-out against his old club following his groin injury.

Wenger said: "I judge him a bit short on the competition front, but on the fitness front he is ready to play."

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