Football

Arsenal were sloppy against Fulham, says Wenger

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Wenger was relieved to secure maximum points at Fulham (©GettyImages)
Wenger was relieved to secure maximum points at Fulham (©GettyImages).

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed his relief after his side recorded a 1-0 win away at Fulham - but admitted fortune was on their side.

A Per Mertesacker header, just before the half-time break, was enough to give the Gunners a much-needed win as the big German converted a Laurent Koscielny header.

The goal came after Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell was sent off for a rash challenge on Spaniard Mikel Arteta after just 12 minutes of the game getting underway at Craven Cottage.

Sidwell had in fact just come back from suspension after he was sent off during their victory over Queens Park Rangers a few weeks ago.

The game then ended with another sending off as Arsenal's Olivier Giroud saw red for a late tackle just as the game entered stoppage time.

The Arsenal boss admitted that it was a big result, but also admits they rode their luck at time as their second half performance did not merit a victory.

However, he was full of praise for the first-half performance that saw Arsenal keep control of the ball and the match in general.

"Of course for us after the draw against Everton it was important to take the three points," Wenger told Sky Sports.

"It was a positive first-half, but for some reason, and I don't know why, our game in the second-half deteriorated and our passing became sloppy, and we played with less pace in our game and Fulham you have to give them credit - they are a good side and they tried like mad and they played very well today."

The Frenchman believes his side didn't adapt well once Fulham went down to 10-men, and he believes the game actually got harder for his player once Sidwell got sent off.

"It became hard, and in the second-half especially I think we played with a hand-brake," he said.

"We just wanted to keep the lead without taking any risk and not enough penetration and when a team is down to ten-men they focus on defending deep and they defended well and we did not give them enough problems today."

Wenger continued to talk to reporters from Sky Sports and he admitted that both red cards should stand which will now mean Giroud will miss three of the last four games, and Wenger believes this will be an issue for the side.

"Unfortunately yes we have to find a solution up-front for the final games, but that can happen and we have to deal with it," he said.

"The result is the most important thing now, but the best way to get the result is still to play well but I think the nerves played a part in the second-half as we did not want to be exposed and we lost our fluency.

"We have always had difficult games here and we lost here last season - but we won this season so that is a good sign. Look at Everton losing today, both teams gave everything and you could feel some players were tired."

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