Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his side’s 2-1 League Cup semi-final victory over London rivals Chelsea on Wednesday showed they were over the upheaval caused by the transfer of striker Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United. Arsenal endured a poor run of form in recent weeks but the comeback win over Chelsea means they will face Manchester City in the League Cup final on Feb. 25.
“I felt that in January we paid a heavy price for uncertainty in our dressing-room,” Wenger told reporters. “Now we are back with more clarity. We know what we have to do. We can focus on our game.”
Arsenal sit sixth in the Premier League, 23 points behind leaders Manchester City, and they lost to Championship side Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, leaving the League Cup as the only route to domestic silverware.
Sanchez, Arsenal’s stand-out player of recent seasons, was sold to Manchester United after weeks of speculation that he was on his way out of the London club.
But his former team mates showed little sign of missing the Chilean as they recovered from an early goal by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard to turn around the second leg with an own goal by Antonio Rudiger and a second-half strike by Granit Xhaka.
Wenger said he could not comment on the likelihood of Arsenal signing striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Germany’s Borussia Dortmund as a way to offset the loss of Sanchez.
“What’s best is I don’t talk about that because it won’t help,” Wenger said. “If something happens, it happens. If it doesn’t happen we are strong enough to focus on the players we have… I am perfectly happy with the players we have.
“We are open to strengthening the team and the squad but we are not close to signing anybody.