Mikel Arteta believes his Arsenal team are capable of finding defensive consistency as they enter the crunch stage of their season.
The Gunners face Slavia Prague in their Europa League quarter-final second leg on Thursday night, with the tie currently level on aggregate after a 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium one week earlier.
In the past few weeks Arsenal have lost a number of defenders to injury, including David Luiz and Kieran Tierney, while the likes of Rob Holding and Gabriel Magahales also had a spell on the sidelines earlier in the season.
A solid defensive structure remains a crucial part of Arteta’s planning going forward, but he refuses to use the instability as a reason behind the inconsistent form this season.
“It’s not ideal,” he told reporters ahead of the second leg in Prague.
“The idea was to have a very consistent backline to give some stability but it’s not been the case for different reasons, because of injuries, form, sometimes because we had to rotate every three days – players could not sustain that level.
“That consistency is needed and it’s really important to find a solution. Maybe now we can do so.”
The game against Slavia poses a different kind of threat with the Czech side in imperious home form and games at Sinobo Stadium rarely high-scoring encounters.
A 1-1 draw in normal time on Thursday would only be enough to take the match to extra time, with Arteta acknowledging the strength of his opponent who have already recorded impressive victories over Leicester and Rangers in the competition so far.
“We know it’s going to be very difficult. They’ve been doing extremely well at home.
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“They are really strong, but we’ve been strong away as well so I don’t want to focus too much on them.
“I want to focus on what we do and the task ahead of us. We have to do our things well to have the best possible change to go through.”