Premier League – Arsenal’s ‘outstanding’ performance

Managerial reaction after Saturday’s Premier League games, with Arsene Wenger hailing his an outstanding performance by his Arsenal side.

Arsenal 2-0 West Ham

Arsene Wenger: “I believe we had an outstanding game. We played with class and spirit and we kept our nerve when the situation became difficult, so overall we have shown a good attitude, good maturity, and in the important moments in any department we were decisive. Everybody adapted very well to the situation and technically I believe we were outstanding today. I felt it (Thomas Vermaelen‘s sending off) was very harsh. We have seen this situation so many times in the game without it being punished at all.”

Gianfranco Zola: “We did have a big part of the game.I thought in the first half we played the best game of the season and certainly deserved something more. In the second half I was a little bit disappointed, I wanted to play a little bit more left-to-right, right-to-left to move them (Arsenal) around a bit. We lost a bit of discipline and conceded the second goal. It was disappointing because it was a big opportunity for us and we probably deserved something more.”

Portsmouth 3-2 Hull

Avram Grant: “The Premier League can be proud that this game is an ambassador for them, not the people in the office making the decisions against football. I think we are doing a great favour to the Premier League and to football. If we play with our heads down, the fans would not come and that would be bad for the league. We are trying to do our best for Portsmouth after the wrong decision was made against us. It was a decision to play until the end.

Iain Dowie: “It’s a cruel, cruel game, but there was enough spirit and tenacity to please me. There was always a mountain to climb but I won’t be downbeat. We have eight rounds to go of a nine-round fight. We lost the first round but can’t allow negativity to happen. We all feel low. But I have to make them keep believing because belief is such an important thing. You learn a lot about people in disappointment.”

Aston Villa 2-2 Wolves

Martin O’Neill: “I thought Ashley (Young) was exceptional. He was mesmeric. He made the first goal for his, but his overall performance was top class. The opening 20-odd minutes was as good a display as we have produced in recent times. It was scintillating stuff and you should have got long odds on us being booed off at half-time. But that’s the nature of things. I suppose a Carling Cup final appearance, the semi-finals of the FA Cup and battling for a top-four place in the league is maybe what is expected to happen here every year.”

Mick McCarthy: “When Villa’s first goal went in, I suppose everyone expected them to go on and win by four or five goals. It was nice to kick against the trend and it was a terrific performance and a fabulous point. I thought their first goal was offside, but for the second one we defended badly. Let’s be honest, Villa had their chances but we also could have won it.”

Everton 2-0 Bolton

David Moyes “We were the only team I felt was going to go on to win the game. I thought we were the better team. Bolton came in and made it very hard but they didn’t offer any attacking threats, with the exception of a couple of free-kicks, so overall I thought we deserved it.”

Owen Coyle: “We more than matched Everton and had some great chances in the first half to take the lead, but we never took them. The sending off will be the talking point and the free-kick for the goal. I can accept sometimes that decisions go against you, but not that (Arteta) is allowed to move the ball into the arc. That gave them an unbelievable advantage. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth and the frustration is we’ve left here with no points.”

Stoke 1-2 Tottenham

Tony Pulis: “I rang Mike Riley on Wednesday and told him my concerns about (referee) Mike Dean. I just thought it (the sending-off) was a very, very poor decision. We’ve had him earlier in the season and he’s made poor decisions.It was disappointing that within four minutes we had conceded a goal and had a player sent off. It’s always an uphill battle but the lads kept going and created more chances.”

Harry Redknapp: “(Eidur Gudjohnsen) scored a fantastic goal. He’s been a bit unlucky since he has been here because Jermain (Defoe) has been scoring. Peter (Crouch) has been scoring and Pav has come in and done well, so he has been unlucky. But he is a fantastic footballer — you don’t play for Chelsea and Barcelona if you are not a great player and we are lucky to have him. He came on after half an hour and really turned the game around.”

Sunderland 3-1 Birmingham

Steve Bruce: “(Darren Bent) has done fantastically for Sunderland and he is worth every penny. It just shows you that a bit of quality, playing every week, has flourished with the chance we have given him. He has been terrific.”

Alex McLeish: “(Bent) is a handful .He is quick, he is exceptional, but you have got to hand it to him on his finishing because you can have all the speed in the world and not be a good finisher. Twenty-one goals is a fantastic return and he looks a real threat. But I feel my defenders will look at it and feel they made it too easy for him today.”

Wigan 1-0 Burnley

Roberto Martinez: “When you saw (Brian) Jensen making three or four outstanding saves, and a clear penalty for James McCarthy that wasn’t given, I wondered how we were going to get the goal. But then we had a little bit of brilliance from a very talented young man, and a finish from a very talented striker. In a very dramatic fashion, we collected the three points the players deserved. The way the players performed in the second half showed a maturity well beyond the age of the squad, and that pleased me more than anything.”

Brian Laws: “I sincerely believe I will have to pick up the players over the next few days. But they’re human beings after all, and it’s an emotional game. If you’re not hurt by that then you’re not human. We’re all going to be licking our wounds over the weekend, no question about it, and I’ll be sulking as much as anybody else.It will be a terrible weekend for me. However, I’ll come in bright and breezy on Monday and we’ll get going again, because that’s what we have to do.”

PA Sport