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, 21:48
From left: Highgate Harriers’ Ben Noad, Brahma Pochee, Murray Strain, Jon Laybourn and Robert Wilson won bronze medals at the South of England Cross-Country Championships at Stanmer Park in Brighton. Pic: Dieter Perry

Jon Laybourn stormed to his best ever cross-country finish as Highgate Harriers’ men came third at the South of England Championships in Brighton on Saturday.

Mon, 17:31
Arsenal Ladies' Alex Scott

EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal Ladies full-back Alex Scott is looking forward to the start of the new FA Women’s Super League season after the 2015 fixture list was announced today.

Friday, January 23, 2015
Arsenal's Perry Groves battles for the ball with Leeds United's Chris Fairclough (c) and Chris Whyte (r)

Perry Groves has urged Arsenal to take their ‘Manchester City form’ to the south coast for their big FA Cup fourth round clash with Brighton on Sunday.

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Kian Thomas after his national novices title victory in December 2013

Kentish Town welterweight Kian Thomas admits his enthusiasm for boxing had waned of late – but believes his switch to the professional ranks will revive it.

Most read sport

Fans of cool pictures of fire – this one’s for you.

Have you noticed lots of ladies with smudged lippie on social media lately? Find out why they’re deliberately committing a make-up faux pas.

Emergency declared as blizzard is expected to dump up to 24 inches of snow.

With 100 days to go until the General Election we decided to give it a try.

Digital Edition

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