Arsenal: Wenger on late win; star men to sign new deals; Gabriel returns
Arsene Wenger admitted his overriding emotion was ‘relief’ after Sani Cazorla’s stoppage time penalty earned Arsenal a 2-1 win over Southampton at the Emirates yesterday.
The Gunners fell behind in unfortunate circumstances when Dusan Tadic’s free kick struck the bar before rebounding into the net off the back of Petr Cech.
Laurent Koscielny’s bicycle kick drew Arsenal level, and although the home side dominated territorially in the second period, Shane Long blew a fantastic chance to win all three points for the Saints.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Wenger said: “Because we threw everything forward we were always a little bit under threat on the counter-attack of Southampton and in the end we got the penalty, so it’s a relief.
“When you lose your first home game, you cannot afford to drop points in the second home game because it creates a little bit of anxiety at home and that’s not what we really want.
“It is a win after Watford, that is two wins together. If we can put a few wins together, of course that will help us to be more confident and to get to a very fluent level like we want to play.”
After a haphazard opening day defeat to Liverpool, Arsenal have taken seven points from a possible nine and will look to continue their positive momentum at Hull next Saturday.
Elsewhere, The Mirror are reporting that Arsenal are set to tie down key men Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez on fresh long-term deals.
Both have two years remaining on their current contracts, and the club are keen to prevent them entering their final 12 months which would significantly weaken the club’s position.
Of the two players, there has been less doubt over the future of Ozil who won over any few remaining doubters with a supreme campaign last season.
The former Real Madrid star has also been joined at London Colney by his close friend and compatriot Shkodran Mustafi.
Alexis’s future was more uncertain, with Juventus said to be circling earlier in the summer, but he has looked far happier this term following a season that was punctuated by injury.
Finally, centre back Gabriel is back in full training after six weeks out with an ankle injury and was pictured taking part in Friday’s session.
His return gives Arsenal welcome depth at the back, though the Brazilian will face stiff competition from new signing Mustafi as well as impressive youngster Rob Holding.
Gabriel is a promising defender, blessed with abundant pace and an aggression that fans like, but has suffered from lapses in concentration.
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