[TR Sport] Wenger hails ‘nearly perfect’ Arsenal

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Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger (C) sits in the team dugout during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL /

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his team had come close to perfection after watching them mark his 20th anniversary with a 3-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday.

Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil scored in the first 40 minutes as Arsenal claimed their biggest win over Chelsea since April 1997.

It was Arsenal’s first win over Chelsea in the league since October 2011 and it saw them climb to third place in the Premier League table, while Antonio Conte’s beaten visitors slipped to eighth.

“It was an outstanding team performance,” Wenger told the BBC at the Emirates Stadium.

“We played with spirit and collective pace and movement. Always in a positive and committed team way.

“Ideally you want the perfect game and you never get it. We got nearly the perfect first half and that is not bad.

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“Football doesn’t care for history and the anniversaries, just the result on the day. Today we had a good performance.”

The only negative for Wenger, who was appointed Arsenal manager in September 1996, was a first-half knee injury sustained by midfielder Francis Coquelin, which saw Granit Xhaka come on.

“We lost Coquelin and Xhaka came on and straight away he is at the level of the game,” Wenger told Sky Sports.

“It (Coquelin) is a knee problem — the same problem as last year. I hope he is not out as long as last year.”

For Chelsea manager Conte, it was a third successive league game without victory following a 2-2 draw at Swansea City and a 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool.

“I think that we didn’t have the right attitude from the first minute,” Conte said.

“After today we are thinking we must work a lot because we are a great team only on paper.

“It is always a team problem rather than individuals. When nothing works it is very hard for a player to play well.

“We have not got the balance and now is the moment to consider everything. It is incredible to concede three goals.

“We must have last season present in our mind (when Chelsea finished 10th) to not repeat the mistakes. We must reflect a lot to find very soon the right way.”

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