Wenger Impressed With Lacazette & Nelson
Manager Arsene Wenger has praised new signing Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson in particular following yesterday's victory over Sydney FC.
Facing off against our hosts in Australia at the ANZ Stadium in front of 80,000 fans, there was plenty of praise for Wenger to throw around and he couldn't be more thankful to the fans for the atmosphere they created on the day.
Speaking to the Official Site following the two nil victory, Wenger said.
'I would just say, before we start, that we`re thankful to the crowd. There were 80,000 fans turning up for a game like that, we are very thankful and it shows how incredible sport is in Australia and how incredible the support we have here is. It is absolutely fantastic for us to see that. We haven`t come here for 40 years, so at least the players realise what support we have in Australia.'
With a contentious penalty on the day, Wenger admitted we had called it wrong on the pitch.
'Yes, we made a mistake - we should have given the ball back to them. It is always difficult to know how to behave, but I think we should have just rolled the ball back to them. I don`t know if Danny Welbeck saw it on the video, but on video it was obvious that it wasn`t a penalty. I haven`t spoken to him yet, but I think Per went to tell him to give the ball back, but I don`t know what happened.'
With some players missing out, he went on to discuss briefly his thinking behind his selection.
'Laurent is suspended in the first two games of the season so I do not need to take any gamble with him. He`ll work very hard physically and there`s no reason for him to take the risk of getting injured. With Ramsey, I was a bit cautious as well because the last few seasons he`s been troubled with injury. I wanted to give him a good build up, a good foundation. He will play on Saturday night.'
With Lacazette only taking 15 minutes to find the net on his Arsenal debut as a substitute after Per Mertesacker had opened the scoring with an overhead kick, Wenger went on to say that it would be key to the player settling in now as he doesn't have to worry about where his first goal comes from.
'It is important for him to get that first goal off his shoulders because you expect to score if you are a striker. You could see that he was happy but overall what we were looking for was to play at pace and to develop our collective game and for long periods in the game that was quite good for us. We had tough opposition because they fought for every ball but at the end of the day their goalkeeper was the man of the match.'
Danny Welbeck also came in for praise following his bright display on the day.
'I would say that he worked very hard. He made many chances in the first half and was so keen to score that sometimes he looked too much for power. He put into the game what we expect of him. He`s a great team player and I expect him to have big season. He was out for such a long time that I hope this will be a positive season for him.'
As for 17 year old Reiss Nelson, Wenger praised his mental strength for showing no sign of nerves despite the number of the crowd and he'd been very impressed with his performance.
'Since I`ve been in the game I`ve understood that you either have that confidence at 17 years of age or you don`t. Some of the players I`ve had in my career have turned 18 years old and it seems natural for them to be on the pitch. They just think, 'Let`s play` and Reiss behaves like that.'
Wenger went on to say.
'They all did well today, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock as well had a very strong performance. They are young, just 17 or 18 years old, so that is very promising. Pre-season is there for that, for me to understand how close they are. It`s the first game, it`s a bit early. What they`ve shown tonight means they have the chance of being very, very close.'