MANAGER Arsene Wenger has challenged Arsenal to continue to let their football deliver all the right answers in the quest to stay top of the Barclays Premier League.
The Gunners produced the perfect response to the midweek Capital One Cup exit at home to Chelsea with a cohesive display to defeat Liverpool 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium and move five points clear.
Wenger’s men, who had been well beaten by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League a fortnight ago, weathered some early pressure from the Reds before Santi Cazorla fired them in front on 19 minutes with a well-taken finish after his header hit the post.
Aaron Ramsey cracked home a sublime second goal – his tenth of the season – on the hour to secure an eighth Premier League win for the Gunners, who head to Germany for a crucial European tie next week before travelling to Manchester United on Sunday.
“I felt conclusions were a bit too quick this week – it was only one game,” said Wenger. “We live in a world where you are questioned. The only response we can give is on the football pitch. I said that many times and that is part of our job. I am pleased we have won a big game at home. I think it was important for the future.”
Arsenal managed to shackle the threat of in-form Reds strike-force Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, who were never really allowed to gain any ground in the final third.
There were, though, some moments of concern for the Gunners, notably when Jordan Henderson waltzed through their half and into the penalty area before horribly scuffing his shot. Liverpool also had a goal ruled out, which would have made it 1-1, after taking a free-kick too quickly for the liking of referee Martin Atkinson, while Suarez – the subject of two summer transfer bids from Arsenal – also brushed the outside of the post and then dragged a late chance wide.
However, Wenger’s men also stretched Liverpool’s defensive line, with Ramsey denied by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and Olivier Giroud chipping just wide in the second half.
“You could see that the [confidence]level is high,” said Wenger. “We had a great defensive solidarity, we were always quick and sharp going forward, and that is the kind of game we want to play. This win will maybe convince some sceptical people that we have a chance at challenging for the title.”