• Arsenal v Liverpool, Premier League

Szczesny puzzled by Arsenal inconsistency

ESPN staff
January 30, 2013

Wojciech Szczesny insists that in training Arsenal are "as good as any team in Europe" but they struggle to replicate that level of performance in matches.

Arsenal have not won a trophy under their manager Arsene Wenger since they defeated Manchester United on penalties in the 2005 FA Cup final.

The club have since come close to ending that drought - losing to Barcelona in the Champions League final in 2006 and Birmingham in the League Cup final in 2011 - but have struggled for consistency in recent seasons.

Szczesny, 22, is personally desperate for success, admitting he has won "literally nothing" during his career so far, but he believes the Gunners' current crop have the potential to be successful.

He said in the Guardian: "The players often show much more qualities in training than we do in games. Whether it's down to what the opposition does, or us playing with the handbrake on as the boss likes to call it, it's hard to say.

"Sometimes I look at our training sessions and think this team is as good as any in Europe. And sometimes it just doesn't work out for us in the game."

Szczesny suggested the, at times, cagey atmosphere at Emirates Stadium can have an effect on his team-mates, as they look to make an impression on their opponents.

He continued: "People talk about pressure in football but I don't think pressure should always affect you in a bad way. I love games under pressure.

"The players are impatient. We really want to win a trophy. The fans are understandably impatient, because we should be doing much better than we have been. It's a very long period that we have been disappointed.

"Very often, when we go on the football pitch, I feel like if we don't score four goals in the first 15 minutes people start being a little bit hesitant. Sometimes you hear boos in the crowd, although that's a different story.

"You get that kind of atmosphere where some people feel under a little bit too much pressure. But I don't feel pressure should paralyse you. It should make you even better if anything. It's hard to explain."

Arsenal player to watch: Anfield seemed a likely destination for Theo Walcott while he stalled on signing a contract extension at the Emirates, but the England forward has been in inspired form since committing his immediate future to the club.

Liverpool player to watch: Glen Johnson is set for a return to Brendan Rodgers' back four after being sidelined by injury - and not a moment too soon in the wake of that humbling FA Cup defeat by Oldham Athletic on Sunday.

Betting: Liverpool won this fixture for the first time in over a decade in the corresponding fixture last season, but don't bank on a repeat - Arsenal responded with two wins at Anfield in 2012. Back the Gunners to make it three wins in a row by a couple of goals at 12/1 with bet365

Prediction: 2-0

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