Arsène Wenger hails Arsenal’s ‘exceptional spirit’ after Villa win
Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger thrilled with his side's attitude after Gunners battled past Aston Villa on Wednesday night
Arsène Wenger declared Arsenal’s return to form following a disastrous start to the season is down to his side’s “exceptional spirit” after the Gunners sealed a dramatic late victory at Aston Villa.
Yossi Benayoun came off the bench to nod home Robin van Persie’s corner in the 87th minute after Marc Albrighton had cancelled out the Dutchman’s first-half penalty soon after the break.
The Gunners, now in fifth place and level on points with Chelsea in fourth, have been steadily climbing the table since enduring a slow start to the campaign – and Wenger has been thrilled by his side’s responses to setbacks this term after they suffered a 1-0 defeat by Manchester City on Sunday.
“Our spirit is exceptional and that’s why we came from a bad start to the season to such a strong run,” said Wenger after Wednesday’s victory.
“You could see that some legs were a bit jaded from Sunday, and some minds in the speed of the decision making. But we still kept going and there is an exceptional attitude and spirit in the side.
“Tonight, very unusually for us we scored from two set-pieces, that is basically historical!”
Wenger, whose side next play Wolves at Emirates Stadium on 27 December, admitted he had taken a “gamble” in starting Van Persie, who has now scored 34 goals in 2011, for the Villa Park clash.
He added: “Of course you always have that question when he plays against Manchester City and then again with that intensity, do I rest him?
“At the moment he feels alright so I just take a gamble. Now we have a little breather to prepare for our home game and let’s hope we can win then.
“We have to give credit to Villa, we know they always give us a good reception here. They always make it very difficult for us.”