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Wenger: Early concession franked formline

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes ‘recent history’ led to his team’s defensive fragility in their 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

Luis Suarez’s fifth-minute opener marked the third time in as many games Arsenal have conceded the first goal at home in the Premier League.

After a disappointing defensive showing from Arsenal in the first half, Liverpool jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 60th minute when Jordan Henderson struck and Wenger claimed after the game his team are struggling with nerves when defending at Emirates Stadium.

“Recent history in the big games at home plays a part, you could sense it from outside,” Wenger said on Wednesday.

“We have to get rid of that psychological factor when you play at home defensively.

“We have to focus on playing football and what we want to do to the opposition.

“I believe the quality is there and we have to trust it and forget what happened in the past.

“What happened in the past, you could see it played in our heads at the start of the game.”

Despite his team’s defensive problems, Wenger and Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers were keen to emphasise the entertainment on offer in London.

Arsenal scored twice in three minutes to equalise with Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott getting on the scoresheet just after the hour mark, while there were 31 shots throughout the match in an end-to-end tussle.

“It was a great football game where both teams went for it,” Wenger said.

“It was entertainment. We could honestly have lost the game but could have won it by three or four goals difference.”

Rodgers refused to be disappointed in Liverpool’s performance despite his players throwing away a two-goal lead.

“It was a wonderful game,” Rodgers said.

“Normally you would be bitterly disappointed not to have won but I can only be proud of the players, I thought they were absolutely magnificent.

“We never kept the lead long enough and once they get the goal that gives them the momentum.

“We could have very easily won the game but I thought the players were outstanding and really looked a threat tonight.”

Thu 31 Jan, 2013
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