Date: 22nd November 2016 at 12:30pm
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Manager Arsene Wenger has been giving his thoughts following the draw against Manchester United this weekend at Old Trafford.

Facing off against the Red Devils once more at their own ground, it was also another meeting with Jose Mourinho, and speaking to the Official Site Wenger knew he had to be happy with the point given the below standard performance of the players.

With Olivier Giroud coming off the bench to get the equaliser on the day, it means a run of eight goals from nine efforts on target in recent times, and obviously Wenger was pleased with his impact from the bench.

The two substitutes did well. We have done that so many times this season and it shows that there is something in this squad which is remarkable. It`s great unity, great resilience and a never-give-up attitude. We know that we can do better going forward.’

As for Giroud more specifically.

‘I consider him to be a regular player. He had a long holiday after the Euros, after that he was injured and now he`s just coming back for a few games. It`s true that in the past two games he has been a bit frustrated but that`s normal because he`s ready to go again. The solution of Alexis up front has worked well and I have two options at the moment. Olivier Giroud is in both options because Alexis can play on the flank. Olivier can only play through the middle, so I can sometimes marry the two together.’

Questioned more about Giroud, Wenger went on to say that the Frenchman was ‘angry in a positive way’ as he battles to get his first team spot back.

‘He`s angry in a positive way. I`d say he`s more determined than angry. I have a lot of respect, not only for his quality as a footballer, but also for the man. The best answer he can give is always to show what he did today.’

With Giroud being joined by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Granit Xhaka from the bench, with Alex Iwobi being unused and the likes of Santi Cazorla unavailable, Wenger also praised the options he has available to him this season.

‘Maybe a few years ago but I think we have the quality and the spirit on the bench. The two together makes us remarkably dangerous until the last minute. Since the start of the season, look at the number of goals we`ve scored in the final five minutes. That is not a coincidence.’

Turning thoughts more to the game and the performance itself he went on to say that he knew it had been a battle and that’s ultimately why he selected the starting eleven he did, but for him it felt a draw was the fair result.

‘I knew it would be a bit more of a physical battle so I chose players who have experience and fight. That`s why my selection was because of that. At the end of the day, everyone gave their maximum and there is a special spirit in the squad. That`s why we came back, because the players who came on made the difference. That`s remarkable. Considering the first half, yes it was a fair result. We had a lot of possession but in the second half when we came out of the dressing room, we dropped. We offered less going forward, but when we were 1-0 down we found the resources again.’

He went on to say.

‘We want to be about style and steel but today we were more about steel than style. There`s a remarkable resilience in the squad and that`s why we came back to 1-1. We didn`t have the usual fluency in our game. Was that because Manchester United blocked us well? I think it was because we were also not at our best going forward.’

Adding.

‘When you`re 1-0 down and you come back to 1-1 with one minute to go, it feels like more than a draw, that`s for sure. I hope it strengthens the belief inside the squad that no matter what happens, we can always come back. As long as you`re playing many big games, you can give games to everybody. It`s more than that. It`s just the understanding and camaraderie in the side. It`s the common target you share. Sometimes a player won`t play in October and then afterwards he`ll play every game until January. That`s part of it.’

And finally, with Alexis playing despite international action, Wenger explained.

‘It`s very unusual to play someone after that. I chose him because Alexis is a guy who can take people on and I knew that would be a quality that would work. He is good on the counter-attack, good in short spaces as well. He`s always a player who is not scared of anybody. He played very well in the first half but we didn`t give him enough service in the second half because we dropped off too much and we played too many balls in our own half. We didn`t give him enough support by coming out more. For a guy who played a decisive game on Wednesday morning, and then travelling after, it`s remarkable.’

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