Arsene Wenger has made a point of extenuating the positives from the frustrating goalless draw against a surprisingly redoubtable Middlesborough in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Gunners drew a blank in the top flight clash at the Emirates opposing Aitor Karanka’s outfit but Wenger — who celebrated his 67th birthday at the Emirates on the day — had words of praise for Arsenal for at least picking up a point in the 0-0 draw.
The draw means Wenger’s troops remain unbeaten since the opening game of the season, when they suffered a 4-3 reverse at home to Liverpool.
Wenger, who will attend the club’s AGM today (Monday), said: “We’ve lost games like that. We are in a position where we’ve come out of seven straight wins. We didn’t win but before we maybe would’ve panicked a bit and lost the game.”
The Frenchman says he is confident that his side retain their ambition and that it was perhaps tired legs — caused in the 6-0 win over Ludogorets in the Champions League on Wednesday — rather than complacency which was to blame for the stalemate.
He added: ”I don’t feel complacency is the case in training. Sometimes you’re a bit jaded physically, but we had to dig deep to get things going. Unfortunately when you play against teams like Middlesbrough, they watch the Champions League games on television and they are ready physically for the weekend. It’s not easy.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal host Reading in the EFL Cup at the Emirates on Tuesday night with Wenger ready to rest key players and give youngsters and those players coming back from injury a chance to gain some match fitness.
Santi Cazorla sat out the Boro game after picking up a knock against Ludogorets, while Olivier Giroud nears fitness — both are in contention for action against the Royals.
Wenger said: “With Cazorla I don’t really know because we have to see how he recovers and maybe Giroud will be available to be in the squad on Tuesday.”