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Sep, 21, 2011

Wenger ignores coaching question

Arsene Wenger refused to answer a journalist's question in the aftermath of Arsenal's 3-1 victory over Shrewsbury, after the Frenchman was asked if he should bring in Tony Adams or Martin Keown to coach his defenders.

Arsenal have endured a horror start to the 2011-12 campaign, winning only one of their opening five matches. The Gunners have conceded more goals than any other Premier League side, while goals have hardly flowed at the other end, scoring six in five top-flight matches.

Wenger has long been associated with a stylish brand of football, but his failure to deliver a trophy since 2005 has often been put down to a soft underbelly at the heart of his team. Certainly the performances of centre-backs Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou and Per Mertesacker have done little to inspire confidence, and Wenger no longer has the talents of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas to cover up for deficiencies at the back.

Following another shaky display against Shrewsbury, during which Arsenal went a goal down and were fortunate not to fall further behind, Wenger was asked if it was an option to seek outside help. Both Adams and Keown were defensive lynchpins towards the start of Wenger's reign, but he took offence to the suggestion that he should bow to their superior knowledge.

"I've just completed 32 years of coaching," Wenger said, according to the Daily Mirror. "I don't want to answer this kind of question." The Arsenal boss preferred to point to the performance of one of his new signings, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored in Tuesday's victory. Wenger believes Arsenal fans witnessed a new first-team player emerge at the Emirates.

"He grew through the game and became stronger and stronger," said Wenger. "He was a bit timid first half.

"Suddenly he grew in stature. We didn't expect it. You could see he would be a first-team player at this club for sure. He has some things to work on but he will be knocking on the door very soon."

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