Brighton 2 Arsenal 3: Arsene Wenger praises Gunners’ mental strength
Brighton 2 Arsenal 3: Arsene Wenger praises his side's mental strength after the Gunners edged to a fourth-round FA Cup win
Arsene Wenger praised Arsenal for being “mentally strong” after the Gunners edged to a narrow win against Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round.
In-form Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock in the 16th minute with a stunning curling shot before Ashley Barnes levelled after shoddy goalkeeping by Wojciech Szczęsny.
The France international, who arrived from Montpellier in the summer, added his second in the 56th minute, but the Gunners were pegged back again when Leonardo Ulloa scored on his Brighton debut.
However, Wenger’s men avoided an inconvenient replay after second-half substitute Theo Walcott scored a deflected strike with five minutes remaining to seal the win.
“It was a very good game and overall we twice went in front before twice conceding equalisers,” Wenger told BBC Sport.
“It shows you have to be mentally strong in football and we had to dig deep to win the game.”
The Gunners manager also reserved special praise for Giroud, with Wenger confident the striker will continue to improve over the remainder of the campaign.
“He has scored four goals this week and that will give him confidence from the slow start he had. He is getting stronger – he’s a fighter,” added Wenger.
“He scored two goals but he had four or five chances – that is very pleasing. He also wins the ball in the air, which for us is unusual.”