English Premiership

Wenger impressed by resilient Arsenal

2016-01-03 16:45
Arsene Wenger (AFP)

London - Arsene Wenger praised Arsenal's grit and determination as they moved two points clear at the top of the Premier League with a tense 1-0 win over Newcastle United.

After watching Laurent Koscielny's 72nd-minute strike secure three points at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Wenger said winning ugly will help his players believe they can do so again if they are unable to overwhelm an opponent with their attacking play.

"It was a difficult game against a good Newcastle side," the Gunners boss said. "Our legs were a bit heavy and we were tested against a team with a lot of good technical quality.

"Our fluency and our movement were not there. From then on it was: Let's stick together and try to win the game however we can.

"The mental aspect of our team was tested and our defensive solidity more than our ability going forward.

"If you're in Newcastle's place you're sorry for them because they played very well. But I'm in the game long enough that when you're capable of winning and you don't play well, that shows the mental aspect of your team.

"Not to drop points when you play like we did is very important. I think it helps the team as well because we go through moments in the season when we will not play well and the memory of having done that before and still having won the game helps you to hang on sometimes."

A valuable element of Arsenal's resilience was the reliability of goalkeeper Petr Cech, who made two excellent saves from Georginio Wijnaldum either side of half-time.

"He made two big saves, one in the first half and one at the beginning of the second and on top of that he stays calm, never panics and today we needed that," Wenger said.

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27 August 2016
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, White Hart Lane 13:30
Everton v Stoke City, Goodison Park 16:00
Leicester City v Swansea City, King Power Stadium 16:00
Crystal Palace v Bournemouth, Selhurst Park 16:00
Southampton v Sunderland, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Chelsea v Burnley, Stamford Bridge 16:00
Watford v Arsenal, Vicarage Road 16:00
Hull City v Manchester United, The KC Stadium 18:30
28 August 2016
West Bromwich Albion v Middlesbrough, The Hawthorns 14:30
Manchester City v West Ham United, Etihad Stadium 17:00
10 September 2016
Manchester United v Manchester City, Old Trafford 13:30
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Arsenal v Southampton, Emirates Stadium 16:00
West Ham United v Watford, Olympic Stadium 16:00
Middlesbrough v Crystal Palace, Riverside Stadium 16:00
Burnley v Hull City, Turf Moor 16:00
Bournemouth v West Bromwich Albion, Vitality Stadium 16:00
Liverpool v Leicester City, Anfield 18:30
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