‘We had to win game’ – Wenger on a high after late own goal helps Arsenal beat Leicester
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A bullish Arsene Wenger was delighted with his team’s late victory after an 85th minute Robert Huth own goal clinched three points for Arsenal at the Emirates tonight.
The win made it three wins in three and two in four days as the North Londoners attempt to emphatically banish their recent poor run of form and attempt to end their season on a high.
The win saw Wenger’s team move up to sixth, four points behind fourth placed Manchester City with both teams having six league games to play.
A scrappy match appeared to be heading for a goalless stalemate until Nacho Monreal fired in a low shot into the visitors box after a spell of home pressure.
With substitute Olivier Giroud jostling with Foxes’ centre half Huth the ball flew off the former Chelsea defender and past keeper Kasper Schmeichel to give Arsenal all three points.
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A delighted Wenger said afterwards: “We took the initiative but you could see we had some heavy legs.
“Maybe we backed a bit of speed in our game but they are very difficult to get out of position and in the end we are very happy with the win.
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“Let’s not forget that Leicester did not play at the weekend.”
After starting the game with three at the back following on from the same formation at Wembley he said: “I finished with four at the back and four up front.
“We had to win the game.
When asked about whether his team could qualify for the Champions League by finishing in the top four Wenger added: “We have one advantage – that of clarity.
“We know we have to win all our games so that’s we why cannot be happy with a 0-0. That’s why we have to take a gamble to try to win the game at any cost.”
Wenger brushed off controversy after Alexis Sanchez received a yellow card following an incident with Leicester’s Christian Fuchs late on.
The Chilean stood in front of the German as he blocked his attempts to take a throw in the Arsenal half.
Frustrated, Fuchs then hurled the ball at him from point blank range. Sanchez then went down theatrically and appeared to be booked for his overreaction.
However, Wenger couldn’t confirm whether the livewire South American picked up a yellow for pretending to be injured or because he refused to move back.
The Frenchman said: “I don’t see where he has been hit but I saw when Fuchs tried to throw the ball in twice Sanchez was next to him.
“He didn’t know he had to be further away. The referee didn’t tell him.
“The referee did not tell him. After that he got a yellow card because he didn’t respect the rule. He was not at the right distance away.
“On top of that Fuchs was lucky not to get a yellow card because he threw the ball at him on purpose.
“I will check on the video [to see if he was booked for simulation not refusing to retreat].”
In the fractious closing minutes Leicester defender Yohan Benalouane was booked for raking his studs into Olivier Giroud’s back following a challenge.
The reckless contact could have easily earned the 30-year-old French-born Tunisian a red card as he appeared to treat the Arsenal forward’s back as a climbing wall.
Wenger said dryly. “Benalouane’s challenge was a dark orange – close to a red.”
In a predictable closing response Wenger said tonight was not the time to talk about his future.