It was not as if Arsene Wenger got the hairdryer out on the Arsenal team that struggled to a 1-0 win over the League One club Doncaster last night, although Sir Alex Ferguson was there so he could have borrowed one off the former United manager if needed.
But you could tell that the Frenchman did not really enjoy the Carabao cup match at the Emirates, even though Theo Walcott gave us the relief of opening the scoring about halfway through the first half. That took a bit longer than it might have, to be honest, and although it was a quality finish and build up from Theo and Alexis Sanchez, it did not lead to the opening of the floodgates as we expected.
In fact Wenger said in the post match interview on the Arsenal website that he felt the Gunners got worse from that point and lost our way, while the visitors surprised the boss with their ability and application as well as their fitness levels which allowed them to press us right up to the final whistle.
Wenger said, “I believe that we started well and in the first 25 minutes had a good pace in our game and good flow and slowly lost a bit our cohesion and our speed in our passing and decreased our level and after that I think we did the job even if we had not anymore the style we want to play and the flair to kill the game off.
“I would say that they played well, very well and that has changed in the lower divisions now, first of all everybody is super fit. They had absolute total fitness, they were well organised, they came they gave us a tough time, they never have shown any weakness mentally, they kept going until the end – they could have scored a goal as well. I must say I was surprised by their quality and their level, so they shouldn’t be too concerned to stay in the league. I think they need to adapt because they just came up, but they have enough to stay in the league for me.”
Of course the most important thing in these cup games is to get through and the Gunners did that, but it was hardly an emphatic performance and Arsenal will need to get better if we are to have any hope of reaching the business end of the league cup.