The Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was obviously impressed with his team’s back to the wall performance against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last weekend, and thinks that if the team continues with this spirit then they can overcome any difficulty.
In fact he thinks that going down to ten men may have helped them to be more resilient. “I feel that we do quite well with 10 men,” Wenger said on Arsenal.com.
“The only negative performance with 10 men was against Manchester City, because it was early in the game. I always thought if it stayed 0-0 until half-time, we’d have a chance to win the game, even against Manchester City.
“Unfortunately, we were very quickly 2-0 down. Even then in the second half, you could see that we could create chances and that we were dangerous. It shows that we have technical and mental quality.”
“We had two aspects of our game in the same match,” he continued. “One where we played with fluency and creativity, and one where it was about digging deep, solidarity and defensive fighting.
“We got the two in the same game and I was very pleased with that, because we were exposed on the defensive side in the last 20 minutes.
“We responded very well and these are two important ingredients that we need now. Now we go into every single game where these two ingredients will be needed.”
Wenger was especially pleased with the way that Bacary Sagna adapted to the central defensive role, despite only learning of the change of position when Laurent Koscielny was withdrawn during the warm up before the game.
“I always thought he could play there one day,” Wenger said. “We pushed him in this position in training. What he showed in training was encouraging. He had no preparation. He was told 10 minutes before the start of the game and he dealt very well with that situation, so that’s very positive.”
With Koscielny still out of action for this weekend’s game against Blackburn, and Vermaelen recovering, it’s possible that Sagna may yet again be moved to the middle again. Wenger loves players that are flexible and perhaps this will persuade him to extend Sagna’s contract this summer?