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Arsene Wenger pays tribute to his players' patience

Our Romanian hosts may have tried to alter the match statistics last night, but they could do nothing to change the fact that their unbeaten home record against English clubs was ended by a battling Arsenal team.

Prior to this season Steaua had played five English teams in European competition - Aston Villa, West Ham, Southampton, Liverpool and Middlesbrough - defeating all but Liverpool (who recorded a 1-1 draw) at home. However, the Gunners ended that impressive run last night.

That didn’t deter the home club from publishing match statistics after the game, which, harking back to the traditions of when Romania was a Soviet bloc country, manipulated the numbers to suggest that Steaua had dominated the game with 60% of the possession.

"I would like you to find me the guy who got this result, I don't think this is right,” noted Wenger when presented with the numbers. “Steaua defended well and tried to catch us on the break. They respected that plan. We could not believe the statistic on the bench."

The bench was correct, as the true figures show that Arsenal had 65% of the possession. We also had 16 shots on goals, of which four were on target, while Steaua had seven shots, with one on target. We had five corners to Steaua’s zero, four offsides to their 13 and, most remarkably of all, 500 completed passes to Steaua’s 244.

In his post match press conference, Le Gaffer spoke of his delight in the way his team remained so patient, despite the pre-match strategy not going to plan...

"We decided to put pace in the game and score early, but we did not manage to do it,” admitted Le Boss. “We felt superior and we were - but as long as you do not score you must not become too nervous or impatient, and therefore be open to the counter-attack. We kept going, were intelligent and in the end scored the goal which gave us a deserved win.

“Patience is linked with maturity and we were conscious of that at half-time. The turning point was maybe they had a chance when their player went through, who I thought was offside. They could not take their chance and after that, van Persie put one in the net."

Despite Steaua’s attempts to convince journalists about the on-field possession, Arsene paid tribute to Bucharest for making things difficult for Arsenal. "Steaua deserve a lot of credit because they did fight and chased the ball,” he said. “They defended very well and their plan was to catch us on the counter-attack. They finished very tired because they gave absolutely everything.

"[This result] says something about the focus of the [Arsenal] team. Even though it was not the most glamorous of games, we had good focus and a good team display. Overall the team is hungry."

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Posted by Gordon Masson on October 3, 2007 11:45 AM in Champions League| Match Report| News| Players
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Comments final match stats (49%/51%)...during the game they showed steaua having 65% up until the 70'. Arsenal must've put some serious pressure on towards the end.

Steaua Arsenal
0 Goals scored 1
2 Yellow card 1
0 Red card 0
2 Shots on goal 5
5 Shots wide 8
16 Fouls committed 7
0 Corners 5
10 Offsides 4
30' 0'' Ball. Poss. (time) 31' 0''
49% Ball. Poss. (%) 51%

Posted by: Alex V | October 3, 2007 12:33 PM

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