Arsene Wenger jokes everyone must lack hunger to defend after Spurs forward Harry Kane’s goal downs Arsenal in the derby
PUBLISHED: 18:00 12 February 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
The 68-year-old hit back at Martin Keown’s comments regarding the Gunners defending and discussed the importance of taking chances in the big games
Arsene Wenger dismissed claims made by ex-Arsenal centre back Martin Keown that his players lack hunger to defend after Saturday’s north London derby defeat.
Harry Kane scored the only goal at Wembley, in the 49th minute, after he outjumped Laurent Koscielny to head home Ben Davies’ cross.
It could have been more than 1-0 though, with Spurs missing a number of chances, but the Gunners would have felt frustrated at full time when substitute Alexandre Lacazette squandered two fantastic opportunities in stoppage time.
“No, I don’t think they lack hunger to defend,” said Wenger, when told about Keown’s comments on BT Sport.
“They were caught by a super striker, who is one of the best in the world. He scores against everybody, so does that mean all the defenders who play against him lack hunger?”
It is a valid point made by the Arsenal boss and he reflected on the importance of being clinical in games like the north London derby.
The Gunners created the better openings in the first half, but often failed to make the most of them.
New signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan wasted the occasions when he was picked out in space and despite Mesut Ozil drifting into various dangerous positions, not enough of his team-mates backed up his efforts.
The frustration of the Arsenal manager was compounded when the Gunners finally did create a genuine opportunity in stoppage time.
First Hector Bellerin got in on the right and picked out substitute Lacazette, but he could only volley over despite being unmarked.
If that annoyed Wenger, what was to follow in the fourth minute of stoppage time made him feel even worse.
Alex Iwobi threaded an excellent through ball and Lacazette ran off Davinson Sanchez, but with just Hugo Lloris to beat, he scuffed his effort and it rolled wide and the full time whistle followed soon after.
Wenger added: “I believe we had opportunities in dangerous situations that we didn’t transform into (clear-cut) opportunities and that’s why I feel regret because in the final ball we missed something.
“Overall when you have two or three opportunities like we had in the final part of the game, you have to take them.
“In this type of game you know you will not have 10 chances and if you don’t take your chances you will suffer.
“To be at the level mentally you have to be capable to use the opportunities and that’s what the top level is about.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.