Arsenal performance in win over Leicester 'not the most glamorous' as Arsene Wenger admits his relief with return to winning ways

Wenger believes the reason why Arsenal dropped off so much was due to a lack of confidence following the north London derby defeat to Spurs

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger has labelled Arsenal’s performance against Leicester as “not the most glamorous” after emerging with a fortuitous 2-1 victory that lifts them back above rivals Tottenham and into fourth place.

While the 65-year-old Frenchman was pleased to get back to winning ways following the north London derby defeat to Spurs on Saturday, he did express concern at how the players dealt with the second half when the Foxes came on strong in search of an equaliser.

Dipping into football’s book of famous clichés, Wenger explained how a “game of two halves” saw the Gunners drop away significantly as the game wore on.

“It was a game of two halves,” Wenger told Arsenal Player. “In the first half we had a good cohesion, good movement, good technical quality and we scored two good goals.

“In the second half our physical level dropped, Leicester came more into the game and at 2-1 we became a bit nervous. Then it was good to finish the game off.

“After a defeat it is always important to win straight away as a big club because if you don’t do that you have a crisis. We did that so it’s a relief and a good basis to prepare for our next game.”


Summing up the 90 minute display, in which both Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez were forced off through fresh injury concerns to their hamstring and knee respectively, Wenger described the evening as an unpredictable one in that he did not know how his players were going to respond to Saturday’s disheartening defeat.

“We were not the sharpest, we were not the most glamorous. Before the game I was concerned because I didn’t know how much of a part the disappointment of Saturday will play in the confidence level, and also how much we had recovered physically.

“I changed a few players in the team because of that and at the end of the day we are happy to win the game.”

Left-back Nacho Monreal supported Wenger’s belief, and also added that the squad may have let complacency creep into their performance when Theo Walcott struck home the second goal following a Mesut Özil rebound before half-time.

“It was a difficult game for us,” Monreal said when speaking to Arsenal Player. “I think we were not feeling 100 per cent, because we played a very hard game against Tottenham three days ago.

Monreal believes Arsenal grew complacent against Leicester

“I think we didn’t play [our best] game. In the first half we scored two goals and were 2-0 up at half-time. Maybe we thought that in the second half it was going to be a [bit] easier but they scored a goal and it was difficult.

“We played the last 25 minutes with an advantage of only one goal but we’re happy because we won.”

Monreal is enjoying a run in the team having started every Premier League match since New Year’s Day, even though regular first-choice left-back Kieran Gibbs is fit to feature. The English defender believes he must fight for his place in the first-team, and looked back on last season when he was keeping Monreal out of the side for inspiration.

“At some stage you’re going to have to fight for your place,” said Gibbs. “It’s the same as last year, when I was playing a lot and other players weren’t.

Gibbs has not started a league game since New Year's Day

“You have to respect that, know what it feels like. I have to take my chance when I get it and I’m excited for that challenge.

“It’s never easy but I think it’s something that once you mature, you realise quickly the better you’ll become when you do get the opportunity.”