Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa: Arsene Wenger says sorry to fans

 

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger apologised to the club's supporters after the Gunners lost 3-1 at home to Aston Villa on the first day of the Premier League.

Wenger's side were booed off at full-time, with chants for the Frenchman to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes on 2 September.

"What hurts me is to disappoint people who love the club," said Wenger.

An Arsenal supporter tries to get his message across to Arsene Wenger

An Arsenal supporter tries to get his message across to Arsene Wenger

"I'm here to make them happy and when I do not I can only say sorry, come back and make them happy in the next game."

Earlier this summer, chief executive Ivan Gazidis revealed that Arsenal were ready to spend big after an "escalation in our financial firepower".

But the only arrival so far is 20-year-old striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre, with numerous players leaving Emirates Stadium.

Wenger confirmed on Thursday that he will attempt to make signings right up until the transfer deadline at 23:00 BST on 2 September, and his team seemed to be in need of reinforcements against Villa.

Olivier Giroud gave Arsenal an early lead but Christian Benteke equalised and then put the visitors 2-1 ahead before the Gunners were reduced to 10 men when Laurent Koscielny was sent off for a second yellow card.

Antonio Luna, one of six new signings by Paul Lambert, scored a third to complete Villa's victory as sections of the crowd turned on Wenger, with anger building as the match reached its conclusion.

Lambert later said: "It's never nice to hear it, you need the fans to stick with you. Mr Wenger certainly knows what he's doing."

Arsenal agony

  • Aston Villa and Chelsea have won three times at the Emirates Stadium - the joint most of any visitors in the Premier League
  • The last time Arsenal lost on the opening day of the season was 2000-01 - they finished second that season behind Manchester United
  • The average win % of previous Premier League champions on the opening weekend is 57%. This compares with a 67% win ratio across a season
  • Arsenal now have 64 red cards under Arsene Wenger - the joint-most in the Premier League in that period (level with Blackburn Rovers)
  • Only Patrick Vieria (eight) and Martin Keown (six) have been sent off more times than Laurent Koscielny

Wenger felt the side he named was good enough to win the match but confirmed he was willing to invest in new signings.

"I'm there to buy players, if we find them we'll do it," he explained. "I'm not the only one working on that - it's not my money, it's the money of the club and we're ready to spend it if we find the right players.

"We could have won the game today with the players on the pitch, I'm convinced of that. We started well but after that everything went wrong - injuries, decisions, going down to 10 men and the chances missed.

"It was a bad day, not on the quality of our display but everything went against us. That [injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] did disrupt us at half-time already and especially when we went down to 10 men.

"It was difficult but I must praise the spirit - until the last minute the players gave everything and the team showed great quality. It's a great disappointment but the spirit and attitude of the players was fantastic.

"I'm unhappy with the spirit the referee let the game [go in], I was quite amazed. But it's not my job to talk too much about that, I have to take care of the team and, despite that, we could have won the game."

Arsenal turn their attention to Wednesday's Champions League qualifying play-off first leg at Fenerbahce and travel to Fulham on Saturday.

"We're not happy, we've got to look at ourselves," said Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere. "We've got a big qualifier coming up and there can be no mistakes now - we've got to push on. We've got to pick ourselves up.

"It [the crowd reaction] is understandable, they pay their money to watch us and we need to put in better performances and win games. My message to them is to stick with us - it's a long season."