Wenger praise for a rare event ... Arsenal keeps a clean sheet
Published 02/11/2011 | 08:27
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger admitted his side's 0-0 draw at home to Marseille was not perfect but he praised his new look back four for keeping a clean sheet.
With several players coming in during the transfer window and injuries to key defensive personnel already striking this season the Arsenal back four has been chopped and changed but their shut-out of Didier Deschamps' side in the Champions League last night pleased Wenger.
He said: "It is not all perfect but we have rebuilt the back four.
"(Thomas) Vermaelen had a good game and (Per) Mertesacker was solid tonight, (Andre) Santos as well and (Carl) Jenkinson has just come back - he lacks experience in some situations but overall he did all right.
"The positives are that we didn't concede a goal and Marseille had one shot on target and we know in the final third we can do better."
The Frenchman decided to leave his talismanic skipper Robin van Persie on the bench and the Holland international had the best chance of a drab second half after being introduced just after the hour with Wenger refusing to let his squad be labelled as a 'one man team.'
He said: "He (van Persie) had a great chance when he came on and he tried to chip the keeper. We have to accept that but overall I believe that you cannot just say that one player always makes the difference."
The Gunners recorded a memorable 5-3 win at Stamford Bridge at the weekend to continue their great run of league form but it was followed by an average performance against an attacking Marseille side - and Wenger believes the two performances were linked.
He added: "Emotionally more than physically maybe (it took it out of us). It is difficult to be on a high three days later but we still had the opportunities.
"(Aaron) Ramsey in the first half had two great chances and Gervinho had a great chance. In a game like that you expect to take one of those chances."
The result means Arsenal did not manage to confirm safe passage to the first knockout round but they remain favourites to top Group F while Marseille sit third, although Deschamps' side impressed the Arsenal boss.
Wenger said: "It was a game where we were still physically not the strongest and Marseille started stronger but I still feel in the first half we had chances to win the game.
"You have to give credit to Marseille, they defended very well and stopped us from playing."