Arsene Wenger bemused by ‘unexplainable’ performance
Arsene Wenger was at a loss to identify the reason behind his side’s poor performance after Arsenal were beaten by a spirited West Brom on Saturday.
The Gunners were sloppy and disorganised in defence as they allowed the visitors to take a match-winning 3-0 lead in the 73rd minute through Jerome Thomas after goals from Peter Odemwingie and Gonzalo Jara had stunned the Emirates into silence after the break.
Samir Nasri’s excellent brace came too late as Wenger’s men tamely succumbed to their first defeat of the season.
“I didn’t recognise my team today and we have to sit down together to analyse what happened,” said Wenger after the match. “I believe that today’s game was an exception – until today we had very, very good games.
“Something is unexplanable in such a poor performance. It is always difficult to [sense it before the game] but something was not right and it is unusual to see a team as flat as we were today.”
Manuel Almunia endured a torrid afternoon in north London. The under-fire goalkeeper was at fault for the visitor’s second goal as he failed to save Gonzalo Jara’s tame near-post effort and his poor positioning was to blame for Thomas’ winner after he was drawn out wide of his goal by Chris Brunt’s run.
However, Wenger opted not to criticise the Spaniard, who had also conceded a first-half penalty which he saved, preferring instead to blame the Gunners’ poor overall display for the shock result.
“I do not want to come out on any individual performances because we were collectively poor,” said the Arsenal boss. “You could single out a few players who have made mistakes.
“You can have question marks about many players today if you look at the performance, especially the defensive one. Many players made massive mistakes defensively.
Wenger added: “We made it more difficult because we were not at our usual level. Not defensively, not offensively.
“Overall everything was difficult for us today – passing the ball, winning the ball back, winning the one against ones – and we got what we deserved which was zero points.
“We didn’t deserve more. The positive is that we did fight until the last minute but it was just not good enough at that level to get three points.”