Despite the fact that we have won our game, there were some tense moments where we could have easily dropped points. The way we dealt with the high balls was not entirely convincing. We improved a bit with the inclusion of Djourou but still there needs to be work done.
When asked about this Wenger replied that there were times we looked vulnerable but he expected it. He said that when you are ending with five strikers you tend to suffer from corners. He also said that in the second half the team did better in dealing with the aerial balls.
“I agree with you that at some stage we looked a bit vulnerable in the air but don’t forget we finished the game with five strikers on the pitch, so I expected to suffer from corners. Overall I believe in the second half our defenders dealt well with the high ball.”
The match was difficult not just because of us failing to keep it tight at the back but also due to some good pressing play by Fulham. They took the game to us and tested our resolve. Wenger quickly acknowledged the fact that it was a good game as both teams played well. Fulham were efficient in the middle as they put lots of pressure on our backline. He said that the combination of Gera and Kamara worked for them. To win today’s game resilience along with quality was required and the team delivered on that.
“It was a good game. Overall I think Fulham played well and we played well. They put us under pressure because Gera and Kamara combined well and their midfield was efficient, they played quite a direct game to expose us with balls behind our defenders. We needed not only quality but spirit and resilience today and we got it.”
Djourou made the difference in the second half with some good defending. He led our backline very well and helped the team deal with the long balls. Wenger praised him in his comments and said that he is improving with every game this season. On his performance he said that he was dominant in the air when our team was under pressure. Wenger was delighted in turning him into a promising centre back from a midfield player.
“From the start of the season he has gone from strength to strength and today, in the difficult period when we had to defend in the air, he was dominant. He has not only shown dominance but also personality. That’s why I am very happy. He came here as a midfielder and we transformed him into a centre back.”
When asked about his regular starts, Wenger said that the players know that they will be rotated so that everyone has starts. As Djourou is coming back after a year, he needs rotation every few games even though he is doing very well. Arsene doesn’t want to lose him by playing him in three matches a week.
“The players know that from game to game we rotate and everybody will have to start in our squad. He is doing very well. He has been out for a year and as you have noticed I have rotated him a little bit. We do not want to lose him and a guy that has been out for a year you cannot play him three games a week.”