Wenger - RVP exit no excuse

Boss frustrated as Arsenal fail to convert possession into points

Arsene Wenger: Doesn't feel striker exit is a valid excuse for goal-shy Gunners

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Arsene Wenger refused to blame Arsenal's failure to find the net against Sunderland on the exit of Robin van Persie.

The Gunners created numerous openings against the Black Cats but were unable to take their chances and the first game of the post-Van Persie era finished goalless at the Emirates Stadium.

"When you are on the football pitch, you don't think about the players who are not there. You try to make a good pass when you have the ball, all the rest is not a valid excuse."

Arsene Wenger

Quotes of the week

Lukas Podolski struggled to find space in attack as he feels his way back to fitness, while fellow new boy Olivier Giroud missed a glaring chance to win it for Arsenal late on.

But Wenger is confident things will soon click into place for his side.

"I feel that Podolski is not ready yet, but he has the quality, and Giroud you could see has a presence when he is on the pitch in this position," said Wenger.

"We went for a different formula last year and the balance is not always right. In some games it works, in some not.

"Against Sunderland we maybe needed one more creative player to be a bit more accurate in the final third.

"There was not a lot of space left to our strikers, everything had to be created from our midfield."

Frustrating

Wenger added: "It is always frustrating in the game when you have so much possession and so little points.

"You have to calculate that you make a draw or two or three during a season, but you don't want to make it at the start in the first game."

But Wenger is adamant Arsenal cannot use the departure of Van Persie as an excuse.

"When you are on the football pitch, you don't think about the players who are not there," said the Gunners boss.

"You try to make a good pass when you have the ball, all the rest is not a valid excuse.

"We had the opportunity to play the ball quicker, our overall passing was not quick enough today in my opinion. That is not necessarily linked with Robin."