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Nov, 3, 2011

Wenger pleased with defensive options

Arsene Wenger thinks that Arsenal now have an embarrassment of riches at centre-half as he has five defenders now in contention for a first-team place.

• Vermaelen confident of fitness

Manager Wenger came under huge pressure to revamp the middle of the Gunners' defence during the transfer window but signed only Per Mertesacker. Injuries were part of the problem but Wenger now has no shortage of options, with Thomas Vermaelen, Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillaci are fit to challenge this season's main partnership of Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

''The balance is vital,'' Wenger told Arsenal Player. ''Koscielny and Vermaelen can play together and Mertesacker can play with Vermaelen and Koscielny. It gives us a bit of an opportunity to rotate a bit when needed and people are tired.

''Ideally, Vermaelen will play on the left (of central defence). But Koscielny can play on the left as well so we have a good potential and balance there. I think that all the three can play at any moment, and we still have Djourou and Squillaci as well.

''People wanted us to buy a centre-back so much and then suddenly you realise we have plenty.''

Arsenal kept a clean sheet in Tuesday night's Champions League game against Marseille but failed to find the net themselves. Four points against the French giants have left the Gunners in control of Group F and Wenger claimed his players had plenty to be pleased about.

''It is satisfactory, yes,'' he said. ''Let's be positive as well. The win over there was a bit lucky in the last minute and here we were a bit unlucky, but overall four points out of six is a good result.

''We are in a very tough group but we are top of it at the moment. I feel on chances we deserved to win the game, although we lacked a little spark. We were on such a high on Saturday (winning 5-3 at Chelsea) that maybe we were a little fraction off what we can do and sometimes in the Champions League that is not enough.

''But, overall, we still had a decent performance - a good defensive performance - and we sustained the pressure until the end. We had opportunities to win the game but we only took a point. It keeps our run going and that is very positive. We don't concede defeat and that is what we continue to do.''

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