Search

Wenger hails Arsenal’s newfound show of strength over Stoke

08:16 04 February 2013

Arsenal

Arsenal's Abou Diaby (left) battles for the ball against Stoke. Sean Dempsey/PA

PA Wire

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal are now better equipped to deal with the physicality required in the Premier League.

The Gunners’ fluid passing style is well documented but so too is their inability to hold firm when the going gets tough.

However, Wenger believes that soft core is beginning to change, epitomised by Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 victory against Stoke.

“In England you have to cope with all kinds of football without losing the quality you want to play and that is not always easy because if you have 10 Santi Cazorlas, you would have a very good technical team, but against Stoke you would struggle,” he said.

“I think it is more mental preparation. You tell your central defenders you have to be ready and they are good on the second ball too, so your midfielders have to be good on the second ball, to fight for it and let you play your game.

“We played Abou Diaby at home and away against Stoke because in front of the defence he can win some headers.

“We are a bit more mature now, but we dealt with it well. In the past, we were a bit younger as well, more inexperienced.

“But defensively, Bacary Sagna, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have some experience, some stature, they are not small at the back.”

As well as toughening up as a unit, Wenger believes Theo Walcott is now more adept at dealing with the attention he gets.

“He is 23 years old,” the Frenchman said. “There is always a change at that age. I am a great believer in that.

“What people forget is that he does everything at 100mph, and when you get hit at 100mph it hurts more than if you’re slow.

“That is why we never had a problem when we played. But he plays at high pace.

“But now you learn to escape and when he imposes himself more, you learn to use your body better.”

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Sport Stories

Yesterday, 11:46
Joe Burns in action for Leicestershire. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Justin Langer, Chris Rogers and more recently Adam Voges… there are some distinguished footsteps for Middlesex’s latest Australian import Joe Burns to try and follow.

Wed, 23:06
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger conceded that his players were still drained from their efforts against Manchester United after being held by Sunderland on Wednesday night.

Wed, 16:03
Mustard celebrate their third goal against Clapton Rangers. Pics Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Mustard are through to the Jack Walpole Cup final after seeing off the challenge of Clapton Rangers in a thrilling 4-3 victory.

Most read sport

Competitions

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder