Arsene Wenger admits possession no longer equals points
By Stephen Turner
Last Updated: 23/12/15 12:47pm
Arsene Wenger says Arsenal have adapted their style to suit the "pragmatic" demands of a Premier League title race.
Monday night's 2-1 win over Manchester City took the Gunners to within two points of leaders Leicester and was achieved with fewer shots and less possession than their title rivals.
Wenger's sides have long been criticised for lacking a 'Plan B', but Per Mertesacker admitted this week they are now able to alter their approach thanks to hours of work on the training ground.
And their manager says there is one simple reason for his willingness to compromise - possession-based football has lost its potency.
"Possession is not rewarded like it was before," Wenger said, speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Gunners' clash with Southampton on Boxing Day.
"It's the first year in the Premier League where the possession doesn't give you the win as much.
"I keep my philosophy, but as well I'm an observer and I go through the stats of every game at the moment. I am trying to understand; is it something new, is something happening there, is something going on that was not before?
"I go through all the possessions and it's true more and more, for example last weekend I think in eight games out of 10 the team who won was the team with less possession."
Arsenal are now favourites to win a first title since 2004, but Wenger said: "We have been top of the league in many years.
"I think football is pragmatic and nobody can predict what will happen in the next 17 games, for example, so you just want to go with the same attitude and same spirit and earn your right to win the games."The only thing I can say is that in 2015 we have been consistent and overall we have had a positive year. We have stabilised our defensive record and improved our record against the strong teams in the Premier League so it looks like we are on the right train, going the right way."