Arsene Wenger reflected on the Gunners’ first home win of the season against Stoke City. The Frenchman praised his central defensive pairing while insisting that he was not concerned by his team’s failure to score goals in recent games.
Theo Walcott opened the scoring in the first half, latching on to a brilliant through ball from Mesut Ozil. Olivier Giroud came off the bench in the second half to score Arsenal FC’s second and put the result beyond doubt.
The Gunners created a host of clear-cut chances but were wasteful in front of goal. Arsene Wenger’s goal-shy side could have won with a much better scoreline had it not been for the brilliance of Jack Butland in the Stoke City goal. The young English keeper was superb between the sticks and kept his team within touching distance before Giroud put the result out of reach.
Arsenal FC had failed to win their opening two encounters at the Emirates stadium and were yet to score at home in the league. The Gunners had benefited from two own goals against Crystal Palace and Newcastle United with Olivier Giroud scoring the only other goal.
However, following the two goals scored, Wenger, who had maintained that he was not concerned by his side’s profligacy in front of goal,must be a relieved man.
“He can be a prolific goalscorer” – Wenger on Walcott
Wenger explained his selection tactics following the win, which saw Theo Walcott start as the lone striker instead of Olivier Giroud. The 65-year-old insisted that he believed Walcott could better exploit the pockets of space in a compact Stoke City back line. The Frenchman insisted that he used Walcott to lead the line so as to best use the movement of the English speedster.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, as quoted by the club’s official website, Wenger said:
“To use the movement of Walcott. I know Stoke are a compact, organised team in their own half and Theo could find little pockets to get in their and maybe that you get two or three chances to counter attack at home so maybe you can use that. He scored a great goal because you needed technical quality to score and timing in the finish. It is good Giroud came on scored as well.”
The Frenchman also talked up Walcott as being a prolific goalscorer who only needs to get his belief back by scoring a couple of more goals.
“He has chances. He can be a prolific goalscorer. When you come out of the game and look at the amount of chances he scored. The bigger the belief he has to score the more he will score. But he gets in good situations.”
Koscielny was outstanding and Gabriel had a very good game
Wenger also hailed the central defensive partnership of Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny, who did a remarkable job in keeping the visitors from troubling Petr Cech’s goal. He was also seen praising Francis Coquelin who had an outstanding game in the middle of the park.
“They looked very strong as Stoke had quite an offensive force out there and I felt Koscielny was outstanding and Gabriel had a very good game. Coquelin as well was outstanding so we had a good triangle in the centre of the park. It was very strong.”
Arsene Wenger was also seen talking about squad rotation in light of the Gunners’ congested set of fixtures in the coming weeks. The 65-year-old is not known to endorse squad rotation like some of the other managers; however, he did talk about rotating them in a manner that will not affect their confidence.
“It helps. I think at the moment we play every three days for four weeks. I will have to rotate the strikers without robbing their confidence. But you cannot always play with the same player every three days especially up front.”
The Arsenal FC manager was not delighted with his side’s finishing and highlighted the huge difference between their chance creation and conversion rate.
“Maybe if I wanted to be critical I could say that that there is too big a difference between the number of chances we created and the number of goals we scored but that will come quickly once you win your games at home.”