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, 07:16
Jordan Nobbs, Arsenal Ladies. Pic: TGSPHOTO

Jordan Nobbs believes Arsenal Ladies are ready to challenge for the league title again after their disappointing slump to fourth place last season.

Thu, 17:07
Georgie Kean (right) vs Kevin McCauley. Pic: Chris Royle/TGSPHOTO

Islington light-middleweight Georgie Kean says he is putting his time to good use as he waits to learn the extent of a troublesome knuckle injury.

Thu, 12:00
Arsenal's Danny Welbeck left) and Newcastle United's Remy Cabella (right) battle for the ball at St James' Park,

Even trailing a sequence of six straight victories in their wake, it takes a substantial leap of faith to envisage Arsenal snatching the Premier League title.

Thu, 09:49
FC Unity U12s with the Camden & Regent's Park League trophy

FC Unity Under-12s clinched one trophy after beating Total Goal Falcons 6-0 – and are fast closing in on their second of a possible four.

Most read sport

A brave PCSO fended the knife-wielding man off with a shopping basket.

Italy’s highest court today overturned last year’s convictions and declined to order another trial.

But what do other parties do with their 404 pages? This you’ll want to see.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder