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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Wenger believes Arsenal answered critics

Arsene Wenger has urged his side to continue silencing their critics by playing good football after Monday's 5-2 win at Reading moved the Gunners into fifth-place.

A Santi Cazorla hat-trick and goals to Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski were enough to relieve Arsenal of some pressure following last week's Capital One Cup exit against Bradford.

Wenger insists he was not only pleased with the result, but the dominance in possession and the number of chances created by the midfield.

"There could only be one answer and that was on the football pitch," Wenger said. "Success came with the quality of our game. We focused on the quality of our game and played.

"Our ambition is to finish as high as we can and win our next game, that is all we can do. We have to focus on the quality of our football.

"We have games based on movement and technical quality and that demands freedom of initiative and when you are in a crisis that suffers sometimes, but we have to go beyond that and focus on the way we play football."

Wenger has been the focal point of Arsenal's scrutiny this season, but he claimed much of it has been unwarranted when asked if the Gunners are in a crisis.

"It depends on what you mean by a crisis. If you call being slaughtered by everybody then we were in a super-crisis," he said. "In our job you need to be mentally strong. It is a test when you have been in a position like we were in.

"In the championship our run is not so bad recently. We lost just one of the last six, but because we had not won them and were starting in the middle, no win becomes highlighted. This run is not fantastic, but not disastrous."

The Frenchman still couldn't avoid questions about Arsenal's penalty shootout defeat at Bradford and he was quick to emphasise the result as a minor blemish in the club's history.

"I just wanted to say that in 16 years, we have lost one time against a team from a lower division," Wenger said. "Our record in the last 16 years is still the best in any cup game compared to any other team in England.

"We were of course not happy with what happened, and very disillusioned. There's only one answer to give - to play well next game."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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