Arsenal 1 Swansea 0: Arsène Wenger hails ‘vital’ victory

Arsenal boss was thrilled to see his side record their first win of the Premier League season on Saturday

Premier League, 10 September 2011, Emirates Stadium
team1
Arsenal
1 - 0
team2
Swansea City

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger admitted it is was “vital” his side returned to winning ways after the Gunners edged to a narrow victory over Swansea City at The Emirates on Saturday.

The north Londoners came into the game with just a point from their first three Premier League encounters, and on the back of their 8-2 humiliation at Manchester United a fortnight ago.

The Arsenal manager, who threw new signings Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker into the starting line-up, said it was absolutely crucial for his side to secure their first top flight victory of the season on Saturday.

“It was vital for us to win the game,” he said. “I think we started quite well but slowly the nerves took over.

“We played with the handbrake on and were restrictive in the second half. It is not often that we pass the ball back to our goalkeeper when we are at halfway. You could see in the second half that we just wanted to get over the line and we didn’t make a mistake.”

The Arsenal boss reserved praise for Gunners debutants Arteta and Mertesacker, as well as Yossi Benayoun, who was a second-half substitute.

He continued: “Mertesacker was calm and composed – he just needs to adapt to the pace of the game. He looks very intelligent in his positioning.

“”¨Arteta played very well, especially in the first half. In the second half it was more difficult for him but you can see he will give us some technical security that this team needs and wants to play like we play.”¨”¨

“[Benayoun] brought us something when he came on because he was mobile, he was dynamic and he did well.”

Andrey Arshavin grabbed what ended up as the winner five minutes before half time when a calamitous error by Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm allowed the Russian to slot the ball into an empty net from a tight angle.

But the victory was far from comfortable for the Gunners, who looked nervy as the visitors heaped pressure on Wenger’s men in the second half.

The Welsh side’s best opportunity to draw level came when Scott Sinclair rattled the crossbar from a free-kick just outside the penalty area.

Arsenal’s first win of the Premier League season hoists them up to 11th in the table, but the north Londoners are still eight points adrift of early pace-setters Manchester City.

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