Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal are ready to silence the critics who wrote them off in the aftermath of their humiliating loss against Liverpool.
Wenger’s side have been revitalised since the 4-0 mauling at Anfield in August and they maintained that momentum with a 2-0 win over Brighton on Sunday.
Nacho Monreal’s first Premier League goal since 2013 put Arsenal ahead in the early stages and Alex Iwobi wrapped up the points after the interval at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners have now taken 10 points from four league games since that embarrassment on Merseyside, a loss so woeful that it sparked fresh calls for Wenger’s resignation from fans who had protested against him last season.
Wenger is convinced the transfer window, which shut days after the Liverpool defeat, had destabilised his team, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs leaving and Alexis Sanchez seeing his mooted move to Manchester City fall through.
Convinced Arsenal, who have won six of their last seven matches, are now unified again, Wenger believes they can enjoy a successful season.
“I knew that after the game in Liverpool everybody would write us off and I knew it just depends on us, how much we respond,” Wenger said.
“Nothing is permanent. You’re not bad in a permanent way, if you can do something about it, and you’re not good in a permanent way, if you don’t keep your urgency.
“We responded in a united way and we have put some wins together and some good performances as well.”
Arsenal head into the international break level on points with champions Chelsea and six behind leaders Manchester City.
Wenger admits he will be sleeping better during the time off than he did during the last break, which came immediately after their Anfield horror show.
“Our last international break was a nightmare, this one is a bit better,” he added.
“I would have loved to continue to play but we cannot do anything about that.
“Let’s hope that the players come back in a good shape.”
– Focus –
Sunday’s fixture marked the 21st anniversary of Wenger’s arrival in north London.
The 67-year-old, who has won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, said he was initially unaware of the milestone occasion.
“I did not know about it. I was told by the press,” he said.
“I wouldn’t like to reflect too much on that. I have kept focus on my job always under good and bad circumstances.
“When you are 21 years somewhere you know that you have good and bad moments.
“Nobody can make 21 years and only fly. What I love in the game is to deal with bad moments and find the response.”
Meanwhile, Brighton manger Chris Hughton felt his team gave a good account of themselves on their first visit to Arsenal in 34 years.
“When you come here, you know it’s going to be a difficult afternoon, you know it is,” Hughton said.
“They’ve got such quality, you have to set up your team.
“It’s very difficult to be very expansive here, particularly when you’re a team like we are that’s just got promoted.
“Concentration levels have to be very much for 90 minutes with what they’ve got and we probably just needed to make more of some of the good areas we got in.”