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Should Rodgers or Wenger be sacked?

Teams In Crisis 6 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Sep 13, 2006

Wenger delighted with opening victory

Arsene Wenger reflected on a job well done after Arsenal got their Champions League campaign off to a winning start in Hamburg.

Even though inspirational captain Thierry Henry was absent through injury, the Premiership side produced a controlled display.

Arsenal played for most of the match against 10 men after Hamburg keeper Sascha Kirschtein had been sent off for bringing down Robin van Persie.

Gilberto converted from the spot, with Tomas Rosicky's brilliant first goal for the club after the break giving the Gunners a two-goal cushion.

Boubacar Sanogo netted a consolation goal for the hosts in stoppage time.

Wenger said: 'We passed the ball well and have shown a very good technical level.

'Hamburg were never giving up, they always were dangerous and they fought very hard to last minute.'

The Arsenal manager added: 'I felt it was a very promising game.

'Until the keeper was sent off, it looked like you would see a good Arsenal team and a good Hamburg team.'

Wenger felt his side had deserved a penalty, but the punishment was somewhat 'harsh'.

He said: 'I have not seen a replay, but from the outside it looked a penalty.

'However, the red card was harsh.

'You have to show a bit of comprehension for the keeper, he has to go for the ball and he cannot have hesitation.

'A yellow card would have done for me.'

Most of the pre-match debate had been over the controversy from Ashley Cole's forthcoming book, which is highly critical of the Gunners.

Wenger, though, would not be further drawn on the saga.

He simply stated: 'I said about that all what has to be said.'

Rosicky opened his Arsenal account in some style, the summer signing Borussia Dortmund cracking in a 25-yard strike.

Wenger said: 'He needed 90 minutes and has shown he can be very influential and that he can score goals.

'We need someone who can score goals like [Robert] Pires did from there.'

Wenger admits the squad want desperately to go one better than last season when they lost in the Champions League final.

He said: 'You want to justify what you achieved last year and it is an incitement to come back and win the trophy.

'Somewhere inside all of us, the frustration for us is so deep that we want to come back and win it.'

Centre-back defender Kolo Toure picked up an injury and had to be replaced.

Wenger said: 'It was a kick on the hip. It looks muscle damage, but we do not know if he can play on Sunday [against Manchester United] at the moment,

'It is very difficult to say.'

Hamburg's late strike ended the personal record of Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who had not conceded in more than 850 minutes of top-flight European football.

Wenger said: 'He is certainly not happy - you can always find one guy who is not happy in a dressing room when his team wins.

'When the team has conceded a goal, it is Jens Lehmann.'

Hamburg coach Thomas Doll, meanwhile, was less than impressed by the penalty decision.

He said: 'I cannot explain and do not understand how the referee give a penalty and then red card our keeper on top.

'Robin van Persie had played ball too far outside and realised he could not score the goal any more.

'Sascha's hand went sideways and then van Persie stood on his hand.

'Joris Mathijsen was the last man, so the referee should have given the keeper a yellow.

Doll added: 'Everybody knows against team like Arsenal is going to be very difficult to come back with one man down.'