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Wenger Hails Arsenal Response After Ending Man United Streak

Arsenal headed into the game needing a win to keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive, but Petr Cech had to be alert with fine saves from Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney as the Gunners’ defence initially seemed to struggle in the new-look 3-4-3 formation.

But regained their composure after the interval, and two goals in three minutes from Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck, sealed an important win in the race for qualification – especially after a dispiriting north London derby defeat at Tottenham last weekend.

The win also marked Wenger’s first against Jose Mourinho in 13 league attempts, and the French coach said after the game:

“We needed to be patient. I felt that if we went in at half-time at 0-0 we would have a good chance to win the game.

“We started a bit nervous, a bit under pressure. Slowly we became better and in the second half we controlled the game quite well.

“The first goal (Xhaka’s deflected effort off of Ander Herrera) was a bit lucky; the second goal was a great team goal.

“I’m happy for Danny as well. When you play centre forward you know we want goals. Hopefully it gives him confidence.

“It was important [to respond]. We lost at Tottenham, it didn’t happen many times.

“We couldn’t afford to lose today. We won at Middlesbrough, against Man City, against Leicester.

“We had just one blip. It was a bit physical. We look a bit more stable.”

Regarding Arsenal’s pursuit of Champions League football, Wenger said:

“We have a big game on Wednesday night. Southampton is a good team.

“Collectively they play well, with good possession of the ball. We need to recover to win on Wednesday.

“We still have a chance mathematically. We need some help as well from teams around us.”