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Wenger relieved by Arsenal victory

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By Stephen Donovan

Sunday 17 August 2014

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that his side were a long way from their best against Crystal Palace on Saturday, but was relieved to see his side take all three points, Sky Sports has reported.

Arsene Wenger

Tipped for a more sustained title push this season, Arsenal struggled for long periods against an organised Eagles defence, with many passed going astray. They fell behind shortly after the half-hour mark when Brede Hangeland headed across goal and in from a right-wing corner.

The home side levelled from a set-piece of their own on the stroke of half time when Laurent Koscielny ghosted in behind a ball-watching Crystal Palace backline to power home Alexis Sanchez’ delivery.

The second half was largely one-sided, but visiting goalkeeper Julian Speroni was rarely tested before the Gunners stole the winner in stoppage time. After Palace had failed to clear a corner, Olivier Giroud headed the ball down for Mathieu Debuchy, whose shot was saved at point-blank range by Speroni, only for Aaron Ramsey to tuck away the rebound.

After the game, Wenger conceded his side can improve significantly from that performance. When asked if they deserved the victory, he said: “We feel overall, yes. But credit to Palace, they fought hard – they are physically very strong, were well organised. On top of that, with the first goal, we gave ourselves a difficult task today.

“We lacked a little bit a change of pace and they gave us big problems in defending. We keep going and that’s one of our strengths. It paid off today.”

On where his side can improve, he added: “The change of pace in the final third, that is usually one of our strengths and today we lacked it a little bit. Is it down to the quality of their defending? Is it down to the fact that we are not completely there yet physically? Maybe a bit of both.”

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