Wenger lauds rising rearguard

Mark Bryans

ARSENAL boss 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. We know in the final third we can do better."

The Frenchman decided to leave skipper Robin van Persie on the bench, and the Holland international had the best chance of a drab second half, 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 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 Marseille -- and Wenger feels the two performances were linked.

He said: "Emotionally more than physically, maybe (it took it out of us)."

The result means they remain favourites to top Group F.