Arsene Wenger has empathy for beaten Alex Ferguson

 

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The Independent Online

Arsene Wenger knows exactly how Sir Alex Ferguson is feeling this morning after Manchester United were thumped 6-1 by neighbours City.

Less than two months ago Arsenal suffered their own Old Trafford horror show when they crashed 8-2, and the Gunners boss admitted he did not see United's shock defeat coming.

"It's a surprise," he said. "But France nearly beat New Zealand in the rugby and that was a surprise.

"Like when we lost 8-2, the big scores have no special meaning, it only means something special happened in the game.

"When you are in a position where you have to attack with 10 men against a good side you are vulnerable. It's not that you lost three points, but the emotional aspect of a result like that remains in your head."

Arsenal have since regrouped and made it six wins out of seven in all competitions when they beat Stoke 3-1 at the Emirates yesterday.

But they needed a two-goal cameo from skipper Robin van Persie, who was rested from the starting line-up but came on with 25 minutes left, to see off the stubborn Potters.

However, Wenger refuted claims the Gunners are a one-man team, and said: "When you want to be a team with quality you always have a player who stands out and who gets on the end of things.

"We had Thierry Henry before. Robin has exceptional quality and so you get these questions."

Gervinho's second goal of the season put Arsenal ahead after 27 minutes, but they were pegged back at half-time thanks to an equaliser from Peter Crouch.

But Van Persie's eighth and ninth goals of the campaign meant a third defeat for Stoke, all of which have come after a Europa League outing on the previous Thursday.

"The lads worked hard," said manager Tony Pulis.

"We've lost three games this season all on the back of Europa games, but if you look at our running stats they aren't far off when we've been winning games.

"Van Persie came on and changed the game. We looked comfortable until he came on, I don't think our goalkeeper had had a shot to save up until then."

PA

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