Wenger praises Arsenal back four

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised his team’s defending after a rear guard action ensured a 1-0 victory over Everton on Wednesday evening, moving the Gunners into third place in the Premier League and on course for Champions League qualification, Press Association has reported.

Thomas Vermaelen headed a Robin van Persie corner past Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard early in the match but Arsenal were unable to add to their lead through a combination of resolute Everton defending and poor Arsenal finishing.

Royston Drenthe had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside that would have levelled the scores before half-time but Wenger feels overall his defence performed superbly. He said: “We were resilient, focused and showed a great desire to defend – our defence played very well. We defended well on crosses – something which is not usually our strong point – and overall we never panicked.

Wenger selected a back four of Bacary Sagna at right-back, Kieran Gibbs at left-back and Laurent Koscielny partnering goal scorer Vermaelen in the heart of defence. The clean sheet at Goodison Park was Arsenal’s first in the Premier League since a 0-0 draw at Bolton Wanderers in early February, although in that time the Gunners have prevented Milan from scoring in a 3-0 Champions League win.

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