Press conference

Wenger on systems, Alexis, Europa League draw

Arsène Wenger reverted to three at the back for Sunday’s draw at Southampton.

The manager had selected a back four against BATE Borisov on Thursday, but stuck with the same system he’s used for the entirety of the Premier League campaign for our visit to St Mary’s.

After the match, the manager discussed both systems, Alexis’ form and the Europa League draw. Here’s what he said:

on being tempted to go back to four in defence…
Yes, and we played a big part of the game with a four today, but away from home recently we’ve done quite well. We’ve won games, but BATE Borisov and Southampton are not of the same calibre, you have to consider that. You had a team on holiday who won the championship two weeks ago and today we played a team who was highly determined and defended every single ball. I must say I am very frustrated as in the second half there was a lot of time wasting. [I’m especially frustrated] on the final ball on the counter-attack [at the end], it is very frustrating to give the advantage to the guy who had the foul because we were not only called back, we were three against one. We played it quick and the referee called the ball back without any reason and that was a huge advantage for Southampton in the final minute.

on Alexis’ form…
I think in the second half I am happy with his performance. In the first half I feel he played a little bit too deep, we need him a little higher up in the pitch and especially when you dominate the game it is important that he plays in the final third. He is tempted sometimes to drop a little bit deep in midfield. Then when you start 35 yards away from goal, it’s difficult to score.

on the Europa League draw…
We have some big teams we want to avoid. We will see, we will deal with it and I will pick a team always who has a good chance to pass. Let’s wait, it’s tomorrow I think.

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