Wenger hails Arse­nal

> Man­ager de­lighted with re­silient Gun­ners af­ter ‘shock’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

APROUD Arsene Wenger praised his Arse­nal side’s re­sponse to their “shock” start to the sea­son af­ter they climbed into the Premier League’s top three with a 4-1 rout at Hull.

The Lon­don­ers recorded three con­sec­u­tive league wins for the first time since De­cem­ber as Alexis Sanchez scored twice and Theo Wal­cott and Granit Xhaka also net­ted at the KCOM Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

Con­fess­ing his side were not ready for the start of the cam­paign when they took only a point from their first two matches, Wenger said: “We had a big shock in our first game and I said straight away we faced a men­tal test to see how we re­sponded to that, and I think we have re­sponded well.

“We were not ready phys­i­cally at the start of the sea­son, but this was a con­vinc­ing win.”

Sanchez has six goals in five games against the Tigers and could have claimed a hat­trick as reg­u­lar penalty taker Santi Ca­zorla looked on, but the Chile for­ward saw his first-half spot­kick saved af­ter Hull de­fender Jake Liver­more was sent off for hand­ball.

“I have to check that but I think Santi was at the head of the list,” Wenger said af­ter see­ing his side fail for the sec­ond time from four penalty at­tempts this sea­son.

Wenger re­fused to crit­i­cise Sanchez, adding: “We have three play­ers (tak­ers). Did he not want to, did he (Ca­zorla) tell Sanchez? I don’t know.

“As a man­ager, you ideally want all the things to hap­pen in the way you de­cide, but we don’t live in an ideal world. The keeper made a good save.”

Wenger sin­gled out Eng­land winger Wal­cott, who scored for the first time since the open­ing week­end de­feat at home to Liver­pool, and young for­ward Alex Iwobi for spe­cial praise.

“I started Alex last year be­cause I’ve seen there is some qual­ity, enough to give him a go,” added Wenger.

“He has a lot in the locker, he’s only 20 years old. He has gained in con­fi­dence now and has gained power.”

Asked if this was a big sea­son for Wal­cott, 27, he added: “He was in­flu­en­tial in both halves of the game with the qual­ity of his runs, he is very dan­ger­ous.”

Hull have taken one point from three games since open­ing the sea­son with backto-back vic­to­ries.

On-go­ing takeover talks and un­cer­tainty over the fu­ture of care­taker man­ager Mike Phe­lan, who is yet to ac­cept an of­fer to take the job full­time, have con­trib­uted to­wards the down­turn in re­sults for the pre-sea­son rel­e­ga­tion favourites, who had pulled it back to 2-1 with a late penalty from Scot­land mid­fielder Robert Sn­od­grass.

Phe­lan is lean­ing to­wards tak­ing the job, with an an­nounce­ment ex­pected by the mid­dle of next week.

The for­mer Manch­ester United as­sis­tant has been in charge for al­most two months since the de­par­ture of Steve Bruce, and he said: “My fu­ture is a lot brighter, I think.

“I was of­fered some terms 48 hours ago and due to this game be­ing quickly upon us I left it alone.

“I’ve now got to read those terms and have a good look at them to­mor­row. From there, I’ll have a sit down with the own­ers to dis­cuss it a lit­tle bit fur­ther.

“Once we’ve sorted out de­tails of who is tak­ing this club for­ward, then we’ll go from there.

“I’ve en­joyed ev­ery­thing so far. I’m ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult to­day, but that’s the na­ture of the beast.” – AFP

Arse­nal’s Alexis Sanchez (L) cel­e­brates with team­mates Mo­hamed El­neny (C) and Granit Xhaka af­ter scor­ing his goal dur­ing their English Premier League match again­sts Hull City at the KCOM Sta­dium in Kingston yes­ter­day. –

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