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Arsene Wenger denies Arsenal were too confident ahead of West Ham defeat

PUBLISHED: 16:55 09 August 2015 | UPDATED: 16:55 09 August 2015

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) during the 2-0 defeat to West Ham

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) during the 2-0 defeat to West Ham

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has dismissed suggestions that his side were overconfident in their surprise derby defeat at home to West Ham.

Wenger’s team – tipped by many to make a genuine challenge for the Premier League title this season – failed to live up to that billing as they slumped to a 2-0 reverse against the Hammers.

Cheikhou Kouyate headed home Dimitri Payet’s free-kick just before half-time and Mauro Zarate took advantage of some sloppy defending to double the visitors’ lead in the second period.

“I felt we were a bit nervous – I don’t think we were too confident,” said Wenger. “Our performance was not convincing, we gave two very cheap goals away and we were punished.

“I believe that we are maybe guilty at 0-0 to give them a goal as soft as that. We have enough experience at the back – look at our back line, the youngest is 30.

“I knew if the delivery was good we would be in trouble. The concentration was not there on the set-piece and we gave him (Kouyate) too much distance to run into.

“Our passing was too slow, not incisive enough. We were not agile, not quick, and West Ham looked a bit sharper than us, more advanced in their preparation – they have played games in the Europa League.

“We were not good enough and West Ham played well. Congratulations to them.”

Arsenal – who have never gone on to become league champions after losing their first game – must now attempt to regroup for another London derby next weekend, away to Crystal Palace.

The Eagles won their opening game at Norwich and Wenger added: “Being a successful team is down to how you respond and we have to respond quickly.

“It’s difficult but it’s part of our job. We have a tricky start – we play Crystal Palace, who are a very good team, and then Liverpool.”

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