Wenger: Gunners are no soft touch
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists his side are no longer a soft touch.

Wenger felt the referee should have taken a firmer stance against what was some tough tackling by Everton during Tuesday night's goalless draw at the Emirates Stadium - when midfielder Darron Gibson stayed on the pitch despite twice pole-axing Theo Walcott.

The physical approach of some players was again highlighted in yesterday's Premier League encounter between Manchester United and West Ham at Upton Park, where Irons striker Andy Carroll clattered into goalkeeper David De Gea in a challenge which Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson claimed should have resulted in a red card.

Wenger's current side may not be full of no-nonsense characters such as former skippers Patrick Vieira and Tony Adams, but the Gunners boss maintains suggestions Arsenal lack players capable of standing up for themselves in the heat of battle are no longer valid.

"I had teams who were not vulnerable to that (physical side), but when we built the stadium here, we were much younger, and of course vulnerable," said Wenger, who takes his side to Fulham on Saturday looking to cement their place in the top four.

"(With players like) (Cesc) Fabregas, at 17 years of age, we were a bit more vulnerable at Stoke than we are today, that is natural."

Wenger, though, has no issue with fair, robust challenges which the French coach feels are "a strength of the English game".

"I don't think it holds players back. In fact, the opposite, the foreign players who come to England improve and you get that aspect of the game as well," he said.

"I have seen so many French players complain about the physicality when they arrived in England. I tell them it will take some time, but the intensity of the game will make them better players.

"It was worse 15 years ago than it is now, back then no-one would have spoken about the Carroll challenge, now everything is analysed on television.

"Some players complained and then, after they moved away, they missed the English game."

When you look at some players, you cannot say the physicality of the game stops them from displaying their talent.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Wenger added: "When you look at some players, you cannot say the physicality of the game stops them from displaying their talent.

"When I brought (Robert) Pires here, he was not an especially physical player, but no-one could stop him from playing his game - (Marc) Overmars, (Dennis) Bergkamp, nobody could stop them.

"You cannot say it is physical or it is kicking, it is just that the commitment is high and that is what you want."

Wenger, though, knows from painful experience just what the result of poor tackles can be.

He said: "What I regret is when it goes overboard and we lost some players like Eduardo and (Abou) Diaby, who paid a high price for that aspect.

"It is a fine line, that is why I say it is the intention that counts.

"If you go a little bit over the ball, how can you tell if the guy did it on purpose or not? It is very difficult."

Fabianski blow
Arsenal are set to be without goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski again this weekend as the Pole faces a possible extended spell on the sidelines with a rib injury.

Fabianski had only just returned to the side following fitness problems, ousting countrymen Wojciech Szczesny as he delivered a clean sheet in the UEFA Champions League away win over Bayern Munich and then also at Swansea.

"Fabianski has a crack in his rib that has not moved, so we have to treat it clinically," said Wenger.

"That means he either has he pain or does not. That is day by day."