Premier League: Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal will continue to play free-flowing football

Arsene Wenger
Image: Arsene Wenger: The Arsenal boss changed his tactical approach against Manchester City.

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal will not abandon their free-flowing brand of football despite their impressive defensive performance against Manchester City.

The Gunners pulled off a 2-0 away win at the Etihad following an impressive tactical performance that saw Francis Coquelin excel as a holding midfielder.

However, as he prepares to take Arsenal to Brighton in the fourth round of the FA Cup, Wenger insisted his team will continue to play with their customary attacking flair.

"I go from too romantic to too pragmatic," the French coach said. "We are not going to change our style. Of course we want to be defensively strong, but we want to play."

Wenger accepts given Arsenal's recent shortcomings against their top four rivals his team were determined not to get overrun once more, having been taken apart 6-3 at City last season, then 5-1 at Liverpool and 6-0 by Chelsea.

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Wenger's reaction to Arsenal's 2-0 win at Manchester City

"We knew that it was important for us to be a bit more cautious. We wanted to be a bit more reassured," said Wenger.

"Last year we conceded many goals in big games, so maybe we were a bit more focused on defending well together, but it is not the basics or philosophy of our game, that (attacking style) will always remain."

Wenger feels the make-up of City's side also allowed for Arsenal to profit from a more pragmatic approach in which they had just over 35 per cent possession.

"They had a team that was organised to defend well with Fernando, Fernandinho and (James) Milner from the start, so for us it was more difficult for us to keep the ball as much as we usually can," said the Arsenal manager.

"With Yaya Toure they are certainly more dangerous going forward, but certainly less focused on defending, so the game would have been more open if Toure and (Samir) Nasri had been here."

The likes of Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil could both start against Brighton following their comeback from injuries.

England forward Danny Welbeck, however, remains out with a thigh problem, while midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) and defender Hector Bellerin (ankle) face fitness tests.

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