Sunday 21 January 2018

Arsene Wenger: Players gave me perfect response from Chelsea game by beating Spurs

Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Capital One Cup, third round match at White Hart Lane, London
Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Capital One Cup, third round match at White Hart Lane, London

Manager Arsene Wenger hopes Arsenal can now move on from a testing week after beating Tottenham 2-1 in the Capital One Cup, but the club could yet face an investigation into the behaviour of their fans at White Hart Lane.

Midfielder Mathieu Flamini netted a brace, the second a superb 20-yard volley, to secure bragging rights from the north London derby on Wednesday.

Following the final whistle, a section of the travelling supporters in the corner of the South Stand were seen ripping down hoardings of Tottenham club slogans, with police and stewards forced to intervene. There were also reports of clashes between rival fans outside the stadium.

Arsenal are aware of the incident and say they will work with Tottenham and the authorities in an attempt to identify those individuals responsible for the disturbances, which could use footage from broadcasters as well as any club surveillance videos.

READ MORE: Flamini double lifts the Gunners in derby

On the pitch, Wenger felt his side, which included several changes from the starting XI from Saturday's 2-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Chelsea, had produced the required response as Flamini found a late winner after seeing his first-half opener cancelled out by Calum Chambers' own goal.

''Overall we responded well mentally and physically to the challenge we faced, and it was a convincing performance,'' Wenger said.

While Wenger welcomed the Football Association's decision to overturn Gabriel's red card at Chelsea, the Frenchman remained angry about events at Stamford Bridge.

The Brazilian centre-back was dismissed for kicking out at Chelsea forward Diego Costa.

However, on Tuesday, the FA announced it had accepted Arsenal's challenge to the decision, which was understood to be based on television evidence showing no contact between the players, and withdrew the three-match suspension.

Gabriel, though, still faces a separate charge of improper conduct for his reaction after being shown the red card by referee Mike Dean, while Arsenal were charged with failing to control their players and have until 6pm on Thursday to respond.

''They repair five per cent of the damage which has been done to us, instead of us playing 11 against 10, we played 10 against 11,'' he said.

''There are some things that were really surprising in this game, some incidents were really handled very lightly and not seriously, and it is better I don't talk too much because I am still angry about it."

Chelsea pronounced themselves ''extremely disappointed'' after Costa was handed a retrospective three-match ban for violent conduct following his clash with Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, which was missed by the officials on the day.

Gabriel could still face a suspension and fine from the FA should he be held to account for failing to leave the field of play immediately after being sent off.

Wenger added: ''You want them just to have hopefully a fair judgement and we will accept what they decide. That's part of it.''

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, felt his side had done enough to get a positive result, but called for focus ahead of Saturday's lunchtime kick-off against Manchester City.

He said: 'In general, the performance was very good, and I am happy with the effort from my players, but both goals we conceded were a bit lucky maybe. Also we made some mistakes, but this is football."

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