By Chris Harris
Manuel Almunia does not deserve to take all the blame for Arsenal's shock defeat to West Brom, according to Arsène Wenger.
The Arsenal goalkeeper made a fine start to Saturday's game, pushing aside a sharp effort from Peter Odemwingie before saving a penalty from Chris Brunt after Odemwingie's pace had caught out the Spaniard.
But it all went wrong after the break. Almunia could not be faulted for West Brom's opener but allowed Gonzalo Jara's shot to spill from his grasp before getting caught out of position as Jerome Thomas converted Albion's third in a 3-2 win.
The media reaction has been unforgiving but Wenger called for some perspective when he spoke to reporters after the match.
"For what happened, everybody will criticise Almunia but if we are 0-0 at half time it is because of Almunia," said Wenger.
"Overall I believe that, defensively, everybody made individual mistakes.
"I think mentally we were never in the game at the requested level. We did go until the end but we had no sharpness and you have to analyse why we had no sharpness."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 27 Sep 2010