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.