Arsène Wenger: Liverpool game was a huge test for Arsenal - and we passed with full belief

League leaders shrug off recent defeats to beat Liverpool before visit to Old Trafford on Sunday

Arsène Wenger believes Arsenal averted a “problem” by beating Liverpool 2-0 on Saturday, and was hugely impressed by the manner in which they overcame the “doubt” created in the midweek Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea.

“It was a huge test because it came after two home defeats and [with] another one then you create another problem against Manchester United [on Sunday]. You could see at the start we were focused but a bit nervous and we put Dortmund and Chelsea on the front foot ourselves. You could feel at the start that the players did not want to do that at all. After we scored you could see that we controlled the game.

“The players believe, of course. Every win makes you stronger. Tuesday raised a little bit of doubt, but not so much because many players did not play. When you lose, the players that do not play don’t drop their confidence. They raise their hopes.”

It was the swagger that Arsenal displayed in the victory, emphasised by the sheer quality of the goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, that so marked this performance out. In previous seasons, defeats such as those to Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea would have disrupted confidence for some time, creating the “problem” that Wenger alluded to. On Saturday, Arsenal bounced right back.

“It creates a bit more belief. They might give us a bit more credit that will re-inforce the belief,” he said. “We were more balanced than on Tuesday. These big games are decided by one or two positions. Today in every single position, we had players who could turn in a top performance.”

It has left Arsenal top of the league, and five points clear. Wenger was asked what he would have thought had such a position been put to him after the opening-day home defeat.

“After the Aston Villa game, if I had told you that, I would have had to run away because you would have killed me! It shows you it can change quickly. It should alert us that we should not go the other way and keep good focus and continue to develop our team. There is still room for improvement.

“Ten games, 25 per cent of the season. You can see trends but it is still not settled yet. At the end of November you will have a clearer idea.”

Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, now has a clearer idea of where his team stand. The Liverpool manager marvelled at Arsenal’s midfield movement, and intimated it would take time to reach that quality without “major investment”.

“The better team won, make no mistake. Arsenal have wonderful technicians, good mobility, [Mesut] Özil is world class. Ramsey has taken his game to another level, [Mikel] Arteta is a good player, Cazorla joining in, [Tomas] Rosicky – five players who are top-class technicians and we had three.

“They have real good quality and they are at a high level and have been for a number of years. For us to be where we are shows we have a fighting chance. The plan is to stay there [in the top four]. We’re trying to build something here. Without major investment, it just takes a bit of time.

“You compare that to Arsenal playing Napoli. I was here. That was at the very top end of the Champions League. They went very close against Borussia Dortmund.”

For the return Champions League fixture against the Germans on Wednesday, Arsenal will assess Jack Wilshere’s fitness on Monday. The midfielder was left out of the Liverpool game with a recurrent ankle injury.

“I don’t know. I will follow the medical advice,” Wenger said. “We will see on Monday morning how he is. It’s very important that we respond well against Dortmund. It’s a big game, let’s recover first and I’m sure the team will go there with a great desire.”

Wenger did joke about the difference in challenges both teams faced. While Arsenal had to raise themselves against Liverpool, Dortmund coasted to a 6-1 win over Stuttgart on Friday.

“I watched the first half but after 20 minutes I knew it would be too easy a game for them. I wanted something more testing. Unfortunately they had a good friendly!”

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal
football
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own