Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Wenger excited by in-form Arsenal

Arsene Wenger hopes Arsenal can build on their victory over Southampton in their upcoming matches

Arsene Wenger is excited by his Arsenal side's form and has backed them to kick on from their 6-1 thrashing of Southampton in what looks to be a difficult set of upcoming fixtures.

The Gunners dominated proceedings in north London and had built a four-goal advantage over Saints inside the opening 37 minutes, before going onto net twice more in the second half.

Wenger said: "We have two interesting weeks coming up because we play Man City, Chelsea and Montpellier in the Champions League. We know much more about the team. There is a positive energy in this team - a desire to play, a desire to play well together and real team play so it is very exciting."

Gervinho's brace alongside own goals from Jos Hooiveld and Nathaniel Clyne, a Lukas Podolski free-kick and Theo Walcott's late effort did the damage at the Emirates Stadium.

The performance bodes well for Arsenal as they prepare for tough couple of weeks that sees Wenger take his side to Montpellier in the Champions League, before league matches with Manchester City and Chelsea.

"In the first 45 minutes we were at a particularly high level," the Gunners boss said. "We had a good combination of pace, speed of our passing and quick combinations. The movement was excellent.

"We were quite lucky as well because they conceded two own goals, but overall I think it was a level of continuity with what we have shown at Liverpool. The game was very interesting to watch. We lost a bit of urgency in the second half, but that is human. We controlled the game and remained serious."

Arsenal will be boosted by the return of Abou Diaby from a hip problem for those fixtures after a win in which the only negative was the end of the hosts' three-match clean sheet record due to a Wojciech Szczesny clanger.

The Poland international, making his return from a rib injury, spilt a high cross from the right under pressure from Rickie Lambert, allowing Danny Fox to lash home on the stroke of half-time.

"I think he was disappointed," Wenger said. "That was the negative of the day, that we conceded a goal. We can dwell over that but you have to concede at some time, but it happened like it happened."

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