Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Wenger and Cazorla pleased with defensive unity

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal have again proved they can withstand the physical test proffered by rival Premier League clubs after his side secured three hard fought points at West Ham.

The Gunners stole to a two-goal lead at the tail end of the first half thanks to Santi Cazorla’s penalty and Danny Welbeck’s tap in, but had to hold firm in the dying stages after Cheikhou Kouyate pulled a goal back for Sam Allardyce’s side.

“It was a very important game for us,” Wenger told Arsenal Player at full-time.

“We knew that we had a very physical game in front of us. I was a bit worried because we played with 10 men for 40 minutes against QPR and had to turn up here two days later, but we had a united, combative and very solid performance.

“We are questioned a lot about our physicality and we had a good opportunity to show that we could do it – and we did it in a very convincing way.”

Santi Cazorla, who notched his fourth goal in six games, was equally pleased with the way the Gunners defence learned from their mistakes at Stoke a couple of weeks ago.

Touching on the importance of winning the second ball, the Spaniard reflected:

“I’m very happy. It’s a difficult game and an important one for us. West Ham are a good team and our team defended with a good spirit and were compact. Now we have a rest because we have a big game at Southampton.

“We need to play better every time because we have the example against Stoke City. The second ball was so important because they have so many tall players, but our team was very focused today.

“The team are in a good mood because we won the last game at home against QPR and now we won again against West Ham. It’s a good moment for us and now we need to continue to play the same.”

Arsenal now have 48 hours rest before they travel to fourth-placed Southampton on New Year’s Day.

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It was particularly pleasing to see that we didn’t fall back on our lead when we conceded yesterday. Loved that we continued to press and push forward, showed good character. And Santi, what a player!

inside tip

It was really particularly displeasing to see the last three games end the same way defensively. I cannot and will not ever be able to understand why is that the case, but I know it’s Wengers fault. We were ahead, we were creating chances, the attacking and midfield players are obviously getting tired, and what he does in that situation is almost like Seria A football stuff. Out att/mid players, in 2 defensive players and a bunker up until the ref blows. In a game where West Ham are obviously not concerned about defending properly, we should have put in… Read more »


I hear what you’re saying but I’d rather grind out a 2-1 than have a repeat of the anderlecht game

inside tip

Yeah, that’s true… I’m kinda not surprised to see minuses pile up on my comment with the lack of critical thinking from our fan base. 🙂 That doesn’t change the fact that they could have done things differently, we had a nice chance to play an amazing game and beef up our GD.

Andy Mack

In the past he’s done as you wanted and then got criticised for not putting on defenders. He can’t win even when we win…..

alexis' shorts

Inside tip, a few points to why I disagree with you – Gibbs sub 85th minute, Chambers sub 90th minute, it’s not like he put them on in the 70th minute and played negative football the last half hour or so – For once I don’t see reason to criticize Wenger for not making subs sooner because the attackers were combining well. The problem offensively was Flamini and Coquelin, when they got the ball upfield, the rest did well, so because Cazorla & Co were performing, there was no reason to sub them except the obvious one of rest –… Read more »


Just because you don’t remember it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. We used to regularly go 4-5-1 from 4-4-2 to close out games. That’s what Nelson Vivas was for.

inside tip

Yeah, 4-5-1 is understandable in these types of situation. And I do remember Vivas very well… But tell me, how do Gibbs, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Debuchy, Monreal count as a 4? Flamini and Coq were in the box as well for all that 10 minute period…


I see the problem now. You’re unable to separate the players name from their actual position on the pitch.


Insidetip, I think you watched the wrong game, the whole game we were going forward for the killer third goal. It was our finishing and their keeper that kept us out from it. We were always threatening and have plenty of clear cut chances.

This was unlike the Liverpool game in which went into our shell and defended nervously.

inside tip

No, you haven’t read my comment correctly. The game was just fine, last 10 minutes weren’t. That’s my point…


So what if the last 10 minutes weren’t that good? Let’s put this into context, we had barely 48 hrs since the last game where we played with 10 men for almost half the game. Not to mention Westham was home (where they haven’t lost in 7 straight games); they were bound to go for it in the last minutes, pump the ball into the box and all. We coped and did well as a defensive unit….and if they were mistakes made – the game is played by humans who get tired at some point and are also prone to… Read more »


You know in a curious way I agree with you. It would be nice to casually watch the Arse cruise to an easy 3 pointer. Relaxing in my old armchair and at one with the world. But somehow I’ve grown accustomed to kneeling in front of a screen,biting my nails down to stumps and cursing the pundits who are rubbishing the team I love and d’ya know I reckon it won’t change in the foreseeable Future. Call me old fashioned but I blame the parents.


I agree about our GK, he was great. Santi is also getting back to his best. A bit more guile in finishing will help him bag a handful of crucial goals. Sanchez is a beast. He keeps sprinting and pressing opposition players till the final whistle. A role model for young players in the club and around the world. Finally with Kos back there is some solidity at the back. Which helps the team express itself better.

Now on to Southampton. Another win will do just fine. COYG!


Szczesny was key yesterday. You could notice that he was told to come off his line for most of their crosses. Wenger knew that Carroll will bully Debuchy so he probably told him to intercept the high balls. He made one mistake but it happens when 20 players are in the box.

Man Manny

I am pleased too. It was great to see that we went to Upton Park with a game plan based on the opposition. Although pundits would make us believe that Arsene does not do it.
From the first minute, Sczeszny showed he would boss his area and did it all game.
The two pivot in midfield, esp Coq, did a good job.
Arsenal conceded possession to West Ham yet was more dangerous over 90 mins. Chelsea and United’s been doing that to us for years.
More of that please.

Andy Mack

He always has a game plan based in someway on the opposition but rarely admits it as he doesn’t want to give the opposition the ‘heads-up’. Unfortunately many of our fans can’t see the subtle changes to game plan (which obviously don’t always work anyway!)


Some clinical finishing and it would’ve rained goals yesterday. Looking forward to improvements.


who were those guys yesterday? and what did they do with our supposedly soft and non-physical squad?


P.S. morgan schneiderlin is out for the game on new years day.
Thats a “sign” for sure! Maybe a “window” of opportunity for us 😉


Two matches against Soton, two matches they don’t have Schneiderlin. If I were donning my tinfoil helmet I’d think there was something fishy going on.

Either way I’ll take it. ‘Bout time we’re playing a team here and there with some of the same struggles we always seem to have.

AK 57

Schezny has been immense in last three games. I want him to be in this zone for rest of the season now. He was all over the place in the first part of the season which costs us some points but now it seems he is back to his best.


Like the fact we had planned our play based on our opposition team, but still we seem to have too many of this last minute defending situations.
It seems we forget our holding game in the last few minutes when we need it the most. We should keep the ball more when the need is more but we take the easy way out by giving the ball away. I am not talking about /in in our box/area but in the their half..fine margina though.
Good result…


This and the set piece defending is where not having Olli hurt us. Fortunately it did not affect the result.

Arsenal Prince

Congrats to our manager n the boys we are behind u n pls bring on Southampton now so we take bak our birth right in top 4! Insidetip, ur a just a Sad Lil Git


Anybody else think Nucho was a target and victim all second half. They constantly went after his side, instead of Debuchy. This hapened until Gibbs finally came on and closed that play down.

Fireman Sam



Am I the only who realizes that we are on a 5 game unbeaten run?


I think we are seeing a bit of rotation considering the fixture pile up. Likely against Southmpton, some ex Saints will be up for a run out. Koscielny is of course a big plus for us (and Per) at the back but we will have to weigh against his fitness. If he doesn’t feature, either of Debuchy or (likely) Monreal are getting better with their surrogate role. This may afford a spot for Calum at RB if Debuchy plays middle. On the other side, it will be Gibbs LB if Monreal in the middle or either of if Debuchy is… Read more »


With regards formation, again this argument is frankly moot. The way we set up is for maximum flexibility. The spine provides the reference in Per/Koscielny- Flamini- Welbeck Everything-else revolves around, in particular the midfield. If we need more caution at the back, the link man sits tighter to Flamini and we become a 4-2-3-1 But the system is design for us to switch very quickly into a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-1-3-2 depending on how the gaffer sees the expression (of course bearing in mind he is mostly hands off) The 3 in midfield further forward are also afforded lattitude to… Read more »


13 pts out of 15 – could’ve been 15 if we’d defended that late corner at Anfield properly.

Another win at Southampton would be real momentum. They’ll be confident after holding Chelsea though.


Let’s just hope they’re more exhausted than we are.


Virgil Van Dijk looks a real talent. 23yrs and 6’4 fits the bill in terms of age to experience + height to replicate some of Metersecker. Seems to have a bit of pace and a hybrid between Koscielny and Per which is perfect. Steeled by Scottish league, trained in Dutch total football, great Surinamese lineage. Possibly able to play both at Cback or as a DM, very good feet for a big bloke. Two for price of one. Throw enough money at Celtic and they may just sell. Likely still cheaper than a Hummels. I think they got hi for… Read more »

Arsenal Prince


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