herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Wenger wants more of the same attitude

Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud

Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal will remain in English Premier League title contention if they continue to reproduce their second-half show at Swansea.

The Gunners secured a fifth straight league success by winning 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium, but only after a goalless first half in which the Swans were the better team.

Bafetimbi Gomis wasted a glorious opening after being put clean through on Petr Cech's goal and Swansea should have had a penalty when Per Mertesacker moved his hand to block Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick.

But Arsenal were a different proposition after the break and goals from Olivier Giroud (pictured), Laurent Koscielny and Joel Campbell saw them keep pace with leaders Manchester City and open up a three-point advantage on third place.

"We are very ambitious, very hungry as well and if we play like that we will be in the (title) fight," Wenger said after Arsenal had avenged last season's two league defeats to Swansea.

"In the first half it was difficult, but in the second half we upped our purpose and tempo and had pace in our combinations.

"Once we scored the first goal we were the dominant team and won the game normally."

Giroud's header four minutes after the restart was the 2,000th goal of Wenger's 19-year reign, but the Arsenal manager was more concerned with points than landmarks ahead of this week's testing Champions League visit to Bayern Munich.

"I am proud of scoring goals because people like to come to see football to see people try to play," the Frenchman said.

"But the most important (thing), of course, was the three points - and we have made a little difference with some teams. Let's focus on the quality of our game and keep a good balance between hunger, humility and confidence.

"It's a very big week for us as we go to Bayern now and then we play Tottenham at home, but we have some very strong results behind us."

Brazilian defender Gabriel has warned Bayern Munich that Arsenal have no intention of sitting back and chasing possession when they head to the Allianz Arena.

Bayern remain top of Group F, but are level with Olympiacos and have only three more points than the Gunners.

Centre-back Gabriel knows just what to expect from Pep Guardiola's well-drilled team, but stressed Arsenal will not be on the defensive. Gabriel said: "We are a big team, we are Arsenal and we need to attack because we need the result, but we need to attack with intelligence and make sure we don't suffer a defeat and complicate our situation."

Gabriel sees no reason why Arsenal - who are hit by injuries to Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - should not travel to Germany with confidence, having drawn away to Bayern in the knock-out stages last season and won there 2-0 in March 2013.

"Everything is possible in football," he said.

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