x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Wenger finds positives in negative statistics

They reached two semi-finals, in the Champions League and the FA Cup, scored four goals at Anfield and put together a 21-match unbeaten run.

Wenger is proud despite a fruitless season.
Wenger is proud despite a fruitless season.

They reached two semi-finals, in the Champions League and the FA Cup, scored four goals at Anfield and put together a 21-match unbeaten run. Yet the only number of any significance when the dust settles on Arsenal's 2008/09 season will be zero. That is zero trophies despite plenty of entertaining football. But regardless of that disappointing statistic, Wenger thinks his team have made huge strides this campaign.

The Gunners head into today's clash with Chelsea at Emirates Stadium with just three Premier League games to play before heading off on their summer break left to look back on another season which failed to deliver silverware. Too many defeats during the opening weeks of the league meant a title bid never really got off the ground, although they comfortably secured fourth place ahead of Aston Villa and with it a crack at the Champions League.

Critics will point to the cold reality of another barren season in terms of trophies - the last coming in the shape of the FA Cup in 2005. Wenger, though, said: "I feel we had to rebuild the team after last season, and that we had a stuttering start. "However, since we have played 21 games with zero defeats. That means the team are developing well and have gone forwards. "The facts show the team have gone hugely forward. Of course, we do not forget that we are here to win things. For me, the two main trophies are the Premier League and the Champions League, which we did not win - but we are on the right way and did as well as we could."

Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink has told Didier Drogba to learn from Frank Lampard's dignified reaction to Chelsea's Champions League exit. Drogba could be sanctioned by Uefa for confronting referee Tom Henning Ovrebo and launching a foul-mouthed rant in front of TV cameras following the midweek draw with Barcelona. Lampard's response was to congratulate the Catalan team and swap shirts with Andres Iniesta.

"Frank also felt this injustice but you could not change what happened at the end," Hiddink said. "Instead, calm down and congratulate the opponents. Didier can learn something. He overreacted." Drogba injured his ankle against Barca and is a doubt for today's game. * With agencies