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Wenger bemoans aerial shortcomings

Arsenal managed Arsene Wenger conceded his side need to improve their ability to defend in the air following Saturday’s enthralling 3-3 draw at West Ham in the Premier League.

An Andy Carroll hat-trick saw Wenger’s men throw away a two-goal lead to trail 3-2 shortly after half-time before Laurent Koscielny rescued a point 20 minutes from time.

And Wenger could not hide his disappointment at his side’s inability to contain Carroll, who was an aerial threat throughout proceedings at Upton Park, adding that it has been a constant hindrance in his side’s title bid. 

“He’s good in the air. I believe we lost a bit of urgency. We had a good game today and we had a bad result and we paid for a weakness we’ve had throughout the season,” Wenger said.

“If you look at the goals we’ve conceded since the start of the season, it’s headers in our box and that happened today.”

Wenger continued by hinting that the former Liverpool striker was lucky to remain on the pitch after an earlier foul on Koscielny, but stopped short of citing the incident as an excuse for his side’s collapse. 

“He’s lucky to finish the game anyway,” Wenger added. “But that doesn’t mean we have to concede goals on the headers if he stays on the pitch, we have to look at ourselves and we cannot influence the decisions of the referee.”

Saturday saw David Ospina retain his place in goal ahead of Petr Cech, with Wenger suggesting that the end result would likely have been same if the former Chelsea keeper had been handed a start.

“He has had outstanding performances and with him and Petr Cech we have exactly the same problem in the air,” Wenger said.

“Since the beginning of the season we’ve had exactly the same problem, no matter who plays.”

Sat 9 Apr, 2016
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