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Arsene Wenger on a "pivotal" February and Mohamed Elneny's debut in the FA Cup


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits that upcoming fixtures are pivotal for his side.

The Gunners host Southampton tonight before facing Bournemouth, Leicester City and Hull City in a month that will conclude with their Champions League game against Barcelona and a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the Premier League.

But the Frenchman also says that February will not be a decisive month in Arsenal's campaign.

"The [coming weeks] can be pivotal but not decisive," Wenger told reporters on Monday.

"They will give a clear indication of the strength of the teams and who can cope with the importance of the games. At the end of the day somebody will win and the team who will win has to go through the important games with strong performances.

"It's a big month for us. I am quite confident, having everybody available, that we can do very well. What is important now is for us to be capable of focusing and coping with that kind of expectation level.

"I don't feel that we have really struggled recently because we had two difficult away games with Stoke and Liverpool and we didn't lose.

"We had a bad result against Chelsea and of course, if you put the three results together, it looks like we've struggled but overall the Chelsea result is under special circumstances.

"If you take the history of our season, we started with a defeat against West Ham and the way we responded and where we are today shows that this team has the capability of responding under pressure. I'm sure that we will show that in February.

"His [Mohamed Elneny's] first performance was very good in many aspects. He had plenty of passes, he made 84 passes and 98 per cent were completed.

"His movement was good, he had a high work-rate. He has to adapt to the toughness of the challenges and certainly gain a little bit in confidence to be more incisive in his passing, but overall for a first performance it was encouraging."

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