Date: 26th September 2016 at 2:55pm
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Manager Arsene Wenger couldn’t have been more happy to see Arsenal end their Chelsea curse at the weekend and take a fantastic three nil victory on the day with goals coming from Sanchez, Walcott and Ozil – all in the first half of the match.

Speaking to the Official Site in his post game press conference, Wenger explained that he felt the first 45 minutes from the side was ‘nearly perfect’ and he praised the ‘collective connection’ between the team given the quality of the passing and movement on display on the day.

‘I feel, especially in the first half, we wanted to play with high pace, put them under pressure, play at a very high collective connection and speed of passing – it worked quite well. It`s one of those moments in your life as a manager where you think ‘today is a great day`. In the first half, I think it was nearly perfect. In the second half it was a bit in-and-out but in the first half, we have shown great quality. We played with style, with pace, with movement – and that`s the kind of football we want to play.’

Asked whether there was anything in particular that had been done differently to create a performance like that, Wenger said he felt it was coming as he retained his belief that the players could definitely be a lot better than they have been so far this year.

‘I felt that in the last three weeks, our team was on the way up. Today was a good test for us to see if that`s real, if we could continue to move upwards. Would Chelsea stop our progression? Overall the quality of our performance today confirmed that we are on the way up. From the goalkeeper to the centre forward, today you cannot fault any performance. Now let`s continue to improve. There`s still room for improvement. Let`s show as well that we can defend together the style of football we want to play.’

Wenger was obviously asked given the quality of the first half if it was as good as he’d seen from Arsenal over the past few seasons, and he was tempted to say yes.

‘Coming out straight after the game, I`d be tempted to say yes, because it`s one of the games where what we wanted to do worked very well. Yes, it`s one of the best performances in recent years.’

With fans making their feelings known in recent times once more, he was also asked whether he was as ‘optimistic and hungry’ for success as he was 20 years ago – and he wasn’t going to say no was he.

‘I`m hungrier. Because I know I have not 20 years in front of me. As well because I feel more the responsibility, you`re not 20 years somewhere and you don`t care about things. I`m more conscious of what Arsenal is all about, so I think the weight of keeping people happy and making people happy is heavier than when I arrived. It (ending the winless streak) was relevant for us because it helps us to win a big game. Between winning a big game and winning the Premier League is a long way to go. At the moment Man City looks to be well in front, but if we can maintain our performances and the quality of our performances and be consistent we might have a chance.’

In a secondary after match interview, Wenger was also quoted as saying that victory over Chelsea has been a ‘psychological hurdle’ and it’s one that we have now ‘cleared’.

‘Before the game, we had to deal with some inconvenient facts and they were that we couldn`t beat Chelsea for years. To get that out of the system was at stake as well today. What was very important for me was that the psychological hurdle didn`t stand in our way. You have not to make too much of it but as well not ignore it. You cannot say to your players that they have always done well against Chelsea, because it`s not true. To find that balance is not always easy, but I told them the best way was to focus on the quality of the football we wanted to play and do that with belief. Today it went quite well.’

With Francis Coquelin going off just after the half hour mark, Wenger also confirmed it was a knee injury in the same place as the one he suffered against West Bromwich Albion last season, but until he was assessed he didn’t know if it was similarly serious or not.

‘He has a knee injury at the same place he had last year at West Brom. That`s the negative of the day. We don`t know if the damage is as big, at the moment, we have to wait for 48 hours. But he left the stadium in a brace and I`m a bit worried for that.’

There was also praise for the fans.

‘I always said that it`s down to us to get the fans behind the team and not reverse. We did not always manage that, I think last year, especially in a very sensitive period it was not so much the case. But today, yes I felt that they really agreed with the quality of our performance.’

And of course, Theo Walcott came in for praise.

‘I think you cannot question his performance. I believe more the chance of Theo Walcott is his attitude this season. He`s ready to fight, commit and you know that straightaway he gets the crowd behind him. Theo Walcott of that stature is a completely different player.’

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