Arsene Wenger said today that the defensive performance of his team in the match against Stoke City was an exception rather than the norm.
Speaking before the game against Newcastle United, Wenger said, “I think we defended well in Galatasaray. Before that game we had three clean sheets in a row but that is the modern game – it is always the last game that is judged definitively on the quality of the team.
“The last one was Galatasaray, before it was Stoke. Yes, we did not defend well at Stoke but I feel that at Galatasaray we defended well.
“We came back at five o’clock in the morning on Wednesday and we just have to recover at the moment,” Wenger added. “Our sessions are recovery, recovery because we played as well two more Champions League games.
“We have played eight Champions League games since the start of the season and we are exposed to demands physically that allow us to work less than we would like to. But of course we work on our weak points.”
“We want to play top level games and over the years we have learnt to cope with that and we don’t want to complain. I have played my 180th Champions League game, that means we can cope with that and Arsenal has learnt to cope with that.”
However, the only way Wenger will be able to convince fans that it was a one off if they follow it up with a clean sheet today. But the defensive problems the team is facing makes it all the more difficult to happen. Calum Chambers is suspended, which means Hector Bellerin will continue his run in the team.
Regarding the youngster, Wenger said, “He’s getting better from game to game. At the start he was a bit inhibited, but in the last game I think he played with more freedom.
“Defensively I have 24 hours to think about [my options] and I will find a solution for tomorrow. We have to play somebody with almost no experience or somebody who is not used to playing in the position.”
The Arsenal manager definitely needs to get creative, with him not having the option of Monreal either, out with an injury. We could see an entirely new back 4, with perhaps Mertesacker being the only experienced player in there.