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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on