Arsene Wenger: Arsenal 'Very Average' In Premier League So Far
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says his team have been “very average” this season after collecting four points from three Premier League games.
The Gunners recovered from a home defeat against West Ham by beating Crystal Palace, but were held to a goalless draw by Liverpool on Monday
“We have started very average I must concede,” Wenger said. “Sharpness is missing a little bit in some players.
“Our game is still not fluent enough in the final third.”
Relive Arsenal’s draw against Liverpool
Arsenal’s next match is away to Newcastle on Saturday but Wenger is likely to find the build-up is dominated by speculation over which, if any, players might arrive at Emirates Stadium before the transfer window closes on 1 September.
The Gunners have failed to score in five of their last six Premier League home games, but any chance of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema making a move appears to be over after the France international said he is staying at the Bernabeu.
With Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny missing through illness and injury respectively, Arsenal’s inexperienced centre-back partnership of Calum Chambers and Gabriel looked vulnerable against Liverpool, raising questions over the depth of defensive cover in Wenger’s squad.
The Frenchman claimed before Monday’s match that Arsenal have the players “internally” to challenge for the title, while adding that he would be prepared to take a gamble in the transfer market if the right opportunity presented itself.
Arsenal’s points tally could be better had Aaron Ramsey’s first-half strike against Liverpool not been ruled out for a marginal offside call.
Wenger was adamant that assistant referee Simon Bennett made the wrong decision, but remained philosophical.
“It is a regular goal, I can’t see why it was cancelled – it was clear,” he said.
“I didn’t ask for an explanation, what does it change? It is about decision-making and they got it wrong. I could see live that he could not be offside.”
It was the second time in two games Liverpool have benefitted from a controversial decision after Christian Benteke’s winner against Bournemouth was wrongly allowed to stand seven days ago.
“Liverpool cannot complain with the decision, not on Monday, not today,” added Wenger.
Rodgers’ case for the defence
Liverpool’s 100% start to the Premier League season was ended by the stalemate, but manager Brendan Rodgers was pleased with a third successive clean sheet.
“Performance-wise, I was very happy with how we worked. First half in particular we created chances and should have been in front,” said the Northern Irishman.
“Our performance level has grown over time. Our defensive organisation is good against big teams.”