Arsene Wenger heaped praise on his substitutes as Arsenal claimed a 1-1 draw at Manchester United – and admitted they’d have lost this type of game last season.
Arsenal were trailing to Juan Mata’s 69th-minute strike before Olivier Giroud scored a late header to earn the Gunners a scarcely-deserved 1-1 draw.
And Wenger, speaking to Sky Sports after the match, admitted: “The result in the end is positive for us because we were 1-0 down with two minutes to go. For the rest it was a bit of a scrappy game with two teams well organised who defended well.
“Our passing was not quick enough, our penetration was not there and in the end we looked like we had good possession of the ball but not many chances. In the second half we suffered for the first 20 minutes and they deserved to be in front.”
Wenger introduced Granit Xhaka, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud late in the game and he was quick to acknowledge their huge contribution.
“The players who came on made a massive difference today. When you are 1-0 down and come back to 1-1 of course you have to feel happy,” he added.
“We lacked a bit of sharpness today, what is it down to I don’t know but at least we came back.
“We did not create many chances, it was an intense game. In the first half we did alright without creating much but in the second half they were on top of us and deservedly led.
“After that they dropped back and we are happy to come back for a point. We have shown steel, we want style as well but we had more steel than style today.
“We have good spirit and that has shown today.”
Wenger was asked if Arsenal – without a Premier League win at Old Trafford since the 2006/07 season – had a ‘mental block’ playing at Old Trafford, and he concluded:
“I wondered during the game about that. Honestly you never know. Last year we would have maybe lost this game and today we didn’t so we have improved on that front. Hopefully now we can kick on with some wins.”