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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said yesterday his side have “a lot of work to do” defensively before they are ready for the upcoming English Premier League campaign, following a 2-2 draw in Hong Kong.
The boss of the north London club said he was disappointed with his “fragile” defence, adding that several players who had taken part in the club’s pre-season tour of Asia were not yet ready to play in England’s top flight.
Wenger’s comments imply he may be tempted to delve into the transfer market to strengthen at the back, however, he has a number of experienced defenders at his disposal who were left out of the tour because of a lack of fitness.
“Defensively we looked fragile, especially in the first half. In the second half not so much because we weren’t challenged,” Wenger said in the southern Chinese city following the draw to local outfit Kitchee.
The club shipped five goals in their three games in Asia, including one against a select Malaysian side on Tuesday and two against Manchester City in Beijing on Friday, much more than Wenger would have liked.
“We let everybody play today and some players are not yet at the level of the Premier League,” he said.
“I played all the defenders during this tour to see who is ready, and who is not ready, and we have (Bacary) Sagna and (Laurent) Koscielny at home, (Per) Mertesacker at home, so we have three experienced defenders at home.”
Arsenal started with a back four of Kieran Gibbs, Johan Djourou, Ignasi Miquel and Craig Eastmond.
Kitchee broke the deadlock after only seven minutes when Spaniard Yago Gonzalez Lopez slotted the ball into the corner, giving Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny no chance.
England international Theo Walcott then pulled the match level on 23 minutes.
Kitchee were ahead again only five minutes later when left-back Daniel Cancela Rodriguez lashed the ball into the roof of the goal. Then playmaker Gervinho skillfully took the ball to the byline in the 77th minute before cutting it back to right-winger Thomas Eisfeld for the easiest of tap-ins.