x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Podolski scores twice in Arsenal's Premier League win over Fulham

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, fires back at critics who said he does not give young British players a chance after fielding five in the game.

Arsenal's Lukas Podolski, left, celebrates his first goal against Fulham at Craven Cottage. Sang Tan / AP Photo
Arsenal's Lukas Podolski, left, celebrates his first goal against Fulham at Craven Cottage. Sang Tan / AP Photo

LONDON // Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, fired back at critics who said he does not give young British players a chance after fielding five in their 3-1 win over Fulham.

Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey was named man-of-the-match, having pulled the strings as Arsenal claimed their first Premier League points of the season, and was joined on the pitch by England's Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott. Jack Wilshere was used as a substitute.

"During the transfer period, people are so much focused on who is coming in that they forget how good our players are," Wenger said. "Somebody told me there was an interesting article somewhere in a newspaper. I personally didn't read it, so I don't give you any guarantee, but they said we don't bring players in. But on the other hand, the English players don't get the chance to play in the Premier League.

"If you look at our team today, you had Jenkinson who gets a chance, you get Walcott who has started with us, you have Ramsey, you have Wilshere, you have Gibbs all players who get a chance with us. You should give us some credit for that sometimes."

The Arsenal manager was also full of praise for forwards Olivier Giroud, who scored the opener, and Lukas Podolski, who netted on either side of half time.

"I am pleased for him [Podolski], because he hasn't started much recently, more because of the balance of the team than his performances," Wenger said.

"I am pleased because he plays with a lot of spirit and he can score goals. Everybody in the squad loves Lukas and I want to keep him. When a player doesn't play he is not happy and recently he did not always start, but if you look at his and Giroud's goal scoring record, it's very good."

Giroud is touted as a player Arsenal need to upgrade to improve their chances, but Wenger expects more this season after he grabbed his third- goal in three games.

"His second season is always better than his first," Wenger said.

"You could see as well technically today that he was quite impressive. His physical presence up front is very important and I think he looks like he's much more confident than last year."

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