Arsenal were far from impressive against Leicester City on Tuesday night, despite looking comfortable at 2-0 at haf-time, and Arsene Wenger yet again believes that the game came too quickly after the intensity of the North London derby on Saturday.
“It was a game of two halves,” Wenger said on the official Arsenal website. “In the first half we had a good cohesion, good movement, good technical quality and we scored two good goals.
“In the second half our physical level dropped, Leicester came more into the game and at 2-1 we became a bit nervous. Then it was good to finish the game off.
“After a defeat it is always important to win straight away as a big club because if you don’t do that you have a crisis. We did that so it’s a relief and a good basis to prepare for our next game.
“We were not the sharpest, we were not the most glamorous. Before the game I was concerned because I didn’t know how much of a part the disappointment of Saturday will play in the confidence level, and also how much we had recovered physically.
“I changed a few players in the team because of that and at the end of the day we are happy to win the game.”
The three points were definitely crucial to keep Arsenal in the race for the Wenger Trophy, and Nacho Monreal also agreed that the Gunners didn’t play well, but it was the points that mattered rather than the performance.
“It was a difficult game for us,” he told Arsenal Player. “I think we were not feeling 100 per cent, because we played a very hard game against Tottenham three days ago.
“I think the team felt it. The most important thing is that we won and three points are here at home.
“I think we didn’t play our best game. In the first half we scored two goals and were 2-0 up at half-time. Maybe we thought that in the second half it was going to be a [bit] easier but they scored a goal and it was difficult.
“We played the last 25 minutes with an advantage of only one goal but we’re happy because we won.
“We were in a very good dynamic and in the last game we finished disappointed and upset, because we couldn’t win the game.
“We knew that we needed a win today because we want to finish as high as we can. These three points are very important for us.”
We are now just one point behind Southampton in fourth, and after the FA Cup game against Middlesbrough we should have an easy-ish game away at Crystal Palace. We should be well rested by then and ready to pounce on any slip-up by Man United or the Saints….