Arsene Wenger hails defense after Stoke win
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his team is ready to face-off with more physical opponents in the Premier League after recording a 1-0 win against Stoke City on Saturday. The Frenchman announced he was proud of the character his team showed against Tony Pulis and his men.
Arsene Wenger and Co. have often been criticized for coming up short when it comes to pressing opponents. Moreover, Arsenal have reputation for being one of the least physical teams in the English Premier League.
The Frenchman reckons he is seeing signs of growing maturity in his squad, although it’s been just a couple of months for his relatively new team to build chemistry.
“In England, you have to deal with all types of football without losing your qualities in how you want to play,” Arsene Wenger said in an interview to Arsenal’s official website. “It's not always easy, because if you have a team of 10 Santi Cazorla's, technically you would be very good, but you would struggle against a team like Stoke.
“We are a bit more mature now and dealt with the Stoke game plan well. In the past, we have been a bit younger and inexperienced defensive, but you could see that in (Bacary) Sagna, Nacho (Monreal), (Laurent) Koscielny and (Per) Mertesacker, we have some experience and stature there. We are not small at the back any more.”
Critics have lambasted against Arsenal’s defense for producing poor performance on a regular basis. Arsene Wenger admits his defense demands plenty of work, but that didn’t mean there was no progress.
The Emirates boss was full of praise for his attack. Arsene Wenger’s summer signings Oliver Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski have finally tuned into finding the back of the net more often. In spite of their goalscoring form it’s the young forward Theo Walcott, who has been a revelation for Arsenal this season.
The 23-year-old England international was again in one of his finest forms against Stoke City, although he wasn’t able to score a goal this time. Nonetheless, Theo Walcott’s stunning pace saw him split Stoke City’s defense like a knife through hot butter more than once. The youngster was also found in a thicket of heavy tackles, which endangered him to injuries.
“What people forget is that Theo does everything at 100mph, so every time you get hit it hurts you more than if you are slow,” Arsene Wenger added.
“He plays at high pace, but he has learnt to escape sometimes and he imposes himself more. He uses his body better now. He is maturing well.”