Arsene Wenger addressed the press after Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Syndey FC and was full of praise for his younger players after a fine showing at the ANZ Stadium.

  • Wenger praised young players Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson
  • He said Welbeck should have given the ball back after controversial penalty
  • He was surprised by Sydney’s fitness and defensive solidity 
  • Ospina, Koscielny and Ramsey will play on Saturday

Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners in their game of pre-season thanks to goals from Per Mertesacker and Alexandre Lacazette.

Wenger played a mixed team of youth and experiences, with youngsters Krystian Bielik, Cohen Bramall, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock receiving starts. The manager had praise for their performance and believe England shouldn’t be too concerned about the future.

“Nelson and Joe Willock had very strong performances. In England, people are worried, but if you look at the results of the youth teams during the summer, and the performances tonight, the future is brighter than people expected.”

There was a controversial moment during the game where Arsenal were rewarded a penalty for a handball that clearly wasn’t. Danny Welbeck went on to miss the penalty, and Wenger agrees that the penalty should not have been given.

“We made a mistake. We should have given them the ball back. I don’t know if Danny Welbeck saw it on video, but the video showed it wasn’t a penalty.”

Although Arsenal were comfortable winners, Sydney did make it difficult for Arsenal to create chances. Wenger was impressed by the level of fitness and intelligence that Sydney demonstrated.

“They didn’t die physically. They played in a intelligent way for the whole game. I was surprised by how well they defended in the final third. We had to push to create clear cut chances in the first hour. We had the physically superiority in pace and power, and for them not to pay a heavy price for that shows that they were intelligent.”

Wenger also gave updates on Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey, who were left out of the squad.

“Laurent is suspended for the first two games (of the season), so I didn’t take a gamble. There’s no need to risk him getting injured. Ramsey has been troubled by injuries so I want to give him a good build-up, a good foundation. They will play on Saturday.”