Laurent Koscielny believes fear of failure is driving the  Gunners on

The defender does not want to make history by being part of the first Gunners team to not make the Champions League next season.

That would be the first time it had happened in the 17-year reign of boss Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal need a top-four finish to ensure another crack at club football's blue riband trophy - or to win the Champions League this year.

Both are in the balance.

Koscienlny said: "Arsenal are one of the biggest clubs in the world and it is 17 years running that we've qualified for the Champions League.

"I don't want to be the first one not to qualify for the Champions League so we are all determined do our jobs to be in the draw for next season.

"We will give everything we can do to get there."

Wenger is desperately searching for new defenders to plug gaps and is looking for a leader in the mould of John Terry, Chelsea's iconic leader, or Gunners legend Tony Adams.

He could turn to a player Arsenal fans love to hate - Ryan Shawcross, who arrives at The Emirates today with Stoke.

Shawcross has been Arsenal's public enemy No.1 since his tackle broke Aaron Ramsey's leg four years ago.

Wenger says England's new generation of players does not include top defenders.

And he ironically blames foreign imports, claiming they do not talk to each other like English defenders once did.

QPR boss Harry Redknapp made a similar complaint, saying the only time his players contacted each other was through text or Twitter.

Wenger said: "You do not find many like Terry any more. Gary Cahill may be one.

"When I arrived here we had a great defence.

"The back four were all English who communicated because they had the same culture, the same way of seeing the game. Communication is an important part.

"But with people coming from different countries, communication has gone from the defenders because they do not all respond to situations in the same way.

"That has gone a little bit in our game."

Wenger also revealed that midfielder ace Mesut Ozil is hungry to make an impact in the second half of the season after the German international's return from injury.

Wenger said: "He is ready. He is hungry.

"They come back from the World Cup and when you come back having won the tournament, even if I gave them the holiday they needed, the hunger is a bit artificial.

"You have to be frustrated to realise how much you miss it, to come back to normal.

"I've had that before with former players. Ozil looks hungry - he worked extremely hard to come back.

"He really pushed himself to the limit of what you can absorb physically."

Ozil, who has spent the last three months on the sidelines since he damaged knee ligaments during defeat at Chelsea in October, has scored one goal in nine appearances for Arsenal this season.

Standings provided by

Make a free website with Yola