Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger following the late winner of the Gunner’s opening home league match of the season against an organised Crystal Palace side had several things to say about the performance of his side in the post-match press conference.
On the last-gasp winner,
“It was not the plan, the plan was to win the game, but because of the physicality and organisation level of Crystal Palace, it was very difficult for us. Why? Because we conceded a goal on the first corner they had. We lacked a bit of pace in the final third to change what we built up into dangerous situations.”
“But it was enough to win the game and win the three points. You could see that for the first game of the season, nobody won at home, we were the only team that won at home. So that shows you that it’s difficult for everybody on the first day of the season. We got the three points we wanted, now let’s focus on Besiktas.”
On timewasting tactics,
“I am [going to have to get used to it] because it started very early in the game. I must congratulate Speroni because he does just enough to gain time without doing too much to get a yellow card! So that’s an art.”
On Arsenal’s attitude in tight games,
“Yes of course we will need that. I believe that our attitude was right, on our fluency we can do better, but that will come. Let’s get everybody physically ready. Having said that, you could see that Crystal Palace played with the same organisation as last year, when they changed the situation from a relegation team to finishing 11th in the Premier League. They were physically very strong and they added some height with Hangeland and he scored a goal.”
On the patience of the supporters,
“I am grateful for that because before, sometimes we had to face that frustration. Today, at 1-0 down they stayed behind the team. At 1-1 when we started to have heavy legs, they gave us some energy.”
On Jack Wilshere being replaced,
“He was sick in the last few days and I felt that he started to miss some competitiveness. I had options on the bench as well. [Criticism of him is not fair] but let’s give him games, he has to build up slowly. For me the most important thing for him is not to have any problem with his ankle. It looks like he’s on the right way on that front. As for the rest, he looks sharper every week.
On Aaron Ramsey’s freshness,
“That shows you that there is no coincidence in scoring goals. He turned up where you need to be in the box. He scored last Sunday, he scored again today and at a very important moment of the game.”
On Calum Chambers,
“I must say, honestly, we bought him as a right back, but in my opinion he could play centre back. I tried it in pre-season and from game to game he becomes stronger. Today he had a remarkable performance.”
On his tactical decisions,
“Look, on some decisions I did not have much choice. For any coach in the world when a player is injured it is easy to make a decision, you just bring a player on. For the rest, I thought that Yaya Sanogo was a bit jaded in the second half.”
On Alexis Sanchez,
“I am very happy with his attitude because he kept on fighting for 90 minutes, even if he is not completely ready physically. Tactically he needs to improve his understanding with his partners but he looked lively and dangerous until the end. I’m happy with his overall attitude and performance.
On Laurent Koscielny,
“He can respond [to setbacks like the first goal]. We had concerns about playing him today because he didn’t practice for two or three days, but he has outstanding physical qualities and pace. He’s another one who is at the right place in the box. He is not the tallest but if you look he is always on the first or the second ball in the box as a defender, and that’s a great quality.”