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Arsene Wenger praises Southampton, relieved as Gunners extend lead at summit


Arsenal’s Dutch Manager Arsene Wenger addresses a press conference at the Helsinki airport in Vantaa on August 9, 2013. Premier League giants Manchester City and Arsenal play their last pre-season match at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium on August.10, 2013. AFP PHOTO / LEHTIKUVA / RONI REKOMAA *** FINLAND OUT *** (Photo credit should read Roni Rekomaa/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Following Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Southampton on Saturday at the Emirates, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger was delighted with his sides display.

Arsenal didn’t dominate possession for large swathes of the game, as they usually do, but they did grab the all important goals when it mattered.

Wenger was relieved that Saints didn’t thwart his team, who stretched their lead at the top of the table to four points with the victory.

“I’m very happy because we were against a good team and they showed why they made good results before,” Wenger said. “We couldn’t take our chances but we took advantage of their mistakes. It’s a very good win against a difficult team. They stopped us well from playing.”

(RECAP - Arsenal 2-0 Southampton: Giroud double extends Gunners lead at the top)

The games pivotal moment came in the 21st minute as Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc dropped a clanger to hand the Gunners an advantage. Saints’ right back Nathaniel Clyne laid the ball back to Boruc who instead of clearing the ball upfield, dallied in possession, tried to turn past Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud three times and eventually lost the ball and let the French striker tap home the opener.

“It [Boruc error] happens,” Wenger said. “Players are quick to close down. Maybe he was a bit too confident and Olivier Giroud did very well.”

Despite handing Arsenal the win with that error, and Jose Fonte’s late pull on Per Mertesscker to concede a penalty kick which let Giroud bag his second, Wenger was impressed with the Saints and was pleased with the Gunners ninth victory in 12 PL games this season.

“When you see Southampton play today we know why they won at Liverpool and drew against Manchester United,” Wenger said. “They are a good team and if they had won today they would have been level with us at the top of the league, so that shows you how good they are.”

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