Belfast Telegraph

Wenger sorry for Old Trafford pain

Arsene Wenger has apologised to the Arsenal fans for their humiliating 8-2 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Wenger has insisted he will not walk away from what is clearly a massive job to rebuild the confidence of a club who are still to find replacements for Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and have collected just a single point from their three Premier League games so far.

"The fans do not want to see their team like that," Wenger told Arsenal World. "We can only apologise and come back in our strength and desire in the next game. Big scores are humiliating and difficult to swallow but I don't think they have a special meaning. They are always under special circumstances."

For Wenger, those special circumstances were a lengthy injury list, which robbed him of the services of Jack Wilshere, Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna amongst others, plus the suspensions of Alex Song, Gervinho and Emmanuel Frimpong.

Yet others see that as window dressing. Indeed, some see the scale of Arsenal's defeat as a positive because it will force the club's hierarchy to take a long, hard look at the future direction of a club who have gone six years without a trophy and already seem incapable of mounting a championship challenge this term.

Confirmation that South Korean forward Park Chu-young will arrive from Monaco in a £10million deal did not do much to lessen the anger around the Emirates Stadium.

Supporters remain mystified as to why Arsenal did not make an attempt to sign Scott Parker, who is bound for Tottenham, and are questioning the amount of money being made available by the club's owners given the much-needed acquisition of Gary Cahill floundered on Friday following a bid claimed to be around £6million, which Bolton regarded as an insult.

Even with injuries returning - and it could be a month at least before Wilshere is back in action if Fabio Capello's assessment is accurate - Arsenal urgently require reinforcements, otherwise the Champions League campaign they set up by winning at Udinese on Wednesday could be their last for a while.

The visit of Swansea immediately after the international break offers the opportunity for a morale-boosting victory, although for now, skipper Robin van Persie accepts his team-mates have to face up to some pretty harsh facts.

"It is an honest result if you look at the game," said the Gunners captain. "It sounds crazy maybe but Manchester United were much better than us and they punished us hard. We were simply not good enough. We have to deal with that. I don't think we can hide behind injuries or suspensions. It is no excuse. They had injuries too, this is football."


From Belfast Telegraph