It has long been one of the main criticisms aimed at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger that we have a soft centre and do not stand up well to a physical challenge. It did look that way a few weeks ago when the Gunners were blown away by a physical Stoke City side in the first half, but the boss thinks the win over West Ham yesterday was proof that his team does have the fighting qualities needed in these games.
The Frenchman told Arsenal Player, “It was a very important game for us and we knew that we had a very physical game in front of us.
“I was a bit worried because we played with 10 men for 40 minutes against QPR and had to turn up here two days later, but we had a united, combative and very solid performance.
“We are questioned a lot about our physicality and we had a good opportunity to show that we could do it – and we did it in a very convincing way.”
That is three games in a row that Arsenal have had to defend heavily towards the end and two of them that we have come through with all three points, so Wenger has some reason to be happy. And maybe we have learned some big lessons from games like the one against Liverpool at Anfield and the painful 3-3 at home against Anderlecht.
Another way to see it would be to wonder why Arsenal were not killing off teams like the Belgian champions, QPR and West Ham. So should we be happy or concerned?