Football

Wenger thrilled by patched-up Gunners

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reflected on a job well done as his side hammered Fenerbahce 5-2 in the most open of Champions League matches in Istanbul.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott put the Gunners 2-0 up inside 11 minutes and although Mikael Silvestre's own goal reduced the deficit, Abou Diaby restored the Gunners' cushion. Four minutes after half-time Alex Song volleyed in a fourth and, after Daniel Guiza pulled one back, substitute Aaron Ramsey completed the rout in injury-time.

Wenger said: "I am very proud of the team. The average age was 23 and I am proud because we came in and tried to dictate the game in a very heated atmosphere."

The win also allowed Arsenal to extend their lead at the top of Group G by a point after Dynamo Kiev won in Porto to move to into second, two behind the unbeaten Gunners.

With the defence down to bare bones and a five-man midfield, there were a number of questions Wenger's side had to answer in the volatile atmosphere of the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium. The back four did not cover themselves in glory, allowing Spain striker Guiza too many chances which, on another day, would have brought him a hat-trick.

But the resting of forward Robin van Persie handed Diaby, who had been out since August with a thigh injury, a place in midfield and he showed his versatility by regularly getting forward and scoring the important third goal.

"I believe Diaby can be a player who can play between midfield and the strikers and has good penetrating power," said Wenger.

"I wanted to rest Van Persie because he played 90 minutes on Saturday for only the third time [this season] and I did not want to gamble. But Diaby would have played any way. It is the first game he has played for three months and he has responded remarkably well.

"Our pace, movement and technique made the difference and allowed us to take advantage of it but it was not an easy game.

"It is very pleasing that they seemed to play with no fear. I am pleased to see it works. We came here and had a go. We started strong, we remained quite strong and we finished strong."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Robin Van Persie
Emmanuel Adebayor
European News
Aaron Ramsey
Football
Mikael Silvestre
Alex
Vassiriki Abou Diaby
Theo Walcott

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