English Premiership

Wenger senses silver lining

2013-11-03 11:00
Arsene Wenger (AFP)

London - Arsene Wenger is convinced his Arsenal side now possesses sufficient consistency to challenge for trophies at home and abroad.

Much has been made of the fact that the Gunners have not won anything since 2005 but, following Saturday's 2-0 home victory over Liverpool, they are currently five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Their credentials are set for a thorough and instant testing however as on Wednesday they travel to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, having previously lost 2-1 at home to the Germans, and on Sunday they are back in Premier League action at reigning title-holders Manchester United.

"It was important to convince people we can win these big games," Wenger said of the Liverpool success.

"And that we did it in a convincing way is even more important. I believe nobody would dispute that we deserved to win this game.

"We have have plenty of other big games coming up and this will help us to deal with them. It's down to consistency and we have been consistent since the first of January 2013. Ten games and 25 points is a respectable number. The players know each other better and have improved individually and collectively."

Santi Cazorla gave Arsenal a first-half lead before Aaron Ramsey made it 2-0 just before the hour mark with his 10th goal of a very impressive season and the Wales midfielder made it clear he was ready to maintain individual and collective high standards, starting at Dortmund on Wednesday.

"It was very important to get off to a good start and we have a nice gap now," he said.

"Hopefully we can maintain that over Christmas as we know our run-in form has been second to none over the last few seasons. If we get ourselves into a strong position in January we will have a very successful season.

"We go to Dortmund now and we were very disappointed with how we lost to them. It was a very sloppy goal when we were in control but we got a good result in Germany last season against Bayern Munich.

"So we have been there before and are used to the atmosphere over the and hopefully we can get a good result."

Arsenal have some injury concerns to mull over however, with midfielder Jack Wilshere missing the Liverpool match with an ankle injury and left-back Kieran Gibbs forced off with a calf problem.

Liverpool had their moments, with Luis Suarez, the man Arsenal tried to buy in the summer, hitting a post and Jordan Henderson having a goal controversially ruled out when Arsenal were leading 1-0.

Referee Martin Atkinson had ruled that Suarez had taken a free-kick without his permission as the official had been keen to stop and book Arsenal's Bacary Sagna for the initial foul.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who lost defender Glen Johnson to an illness that required hospital treatment, felt his side had been hard done by.

"I got an explanation from the fourth official," he said. "He could only give him the yellow card at that point so when we went into the next phase of the game, crossed and scored by all accounts he couldn't do that.

"If that's the ruling then it's not a ruling that's any good because we are always asking players to be honest and get up and play. It was disappointing because it was clever play."


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