Saturday reaction: Arsene Wenger praises Arsenal spirit after snatching draw at Everton | Barclays Premier League

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Sunday 24 August 2014

Saturday reaction: Wenger praises Arsenal spirit after late draw

Frenchman pleased after two late goals earn point as Jose Mourinho calls on side to improve

Arsene Wenger praised Arsenal's character as they battled back from a goal down to secure a 2-2 draw with two late goals at Everton on Saturday.

In April, Arsenal were soundly beaten 3-0 on Merseyside, and on the back of their European exertions at Besiktas in midweek, the north London side looked set for a repeat as Everton raced into a 2-0 half-time lead thanks to goals from Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith. But Wenger's men worked their way back into the game, as Aaron Ramsey continued his rich vein of scoring form to reduce the arrears in the 83rd minute and then Olivier Giroud headed them level in the final minute.

"When we got beaten 3-0 here it could have been many more," Wenger said. "That was quite a flattering score on the day but today we deserved the point we earned and for us to come back from 2-0 down against a team who is good on the counter-attack shows that the belief and resilience is there.”

Everton manager Roberto Martinez put the Arsenal comeback down to tiredness among his team.

"For 70, 75 minutes it was the perfect performance – very similar to the one we had not that long ago when we faced Arsenal," said Martinez. "The first half display was full of dynamic football, full of energy. We were really, really strong every time we went forward.

"I just felt that certain individuals and as a team… we dropped our energy levels. When you do that you have to score that third goal. Otherwise, if you allow Arsenal to get a goal back, all of a sudden they have a bit of momentum.”

Mourinho calls on Chelsea to improve

Jose Mourinho referred to his Chelsea side's first-half display against Leicester City "lazy" adding that they have still room to improve despite maintaining their winning start to the Barclays Premier League with a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Diego Costa and Eden Hazard scored second-half goals as the Blues eventually overcame a stubborn Leicester team, for whom David Nugent passed up a golden chance to score with the game still goalless.

"The team was lazy in the first half, which I didn't like," Mourinho said. "The second half was good and it is important not to lose points at home.

"In the second half, we were too strong for them but I don't forget that at 0-0 they have one situation face to face with [Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut] Courtois. We have lots of work to do. You can never stop thinking you can improve and our first half showed clearly we have to improve.”

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson lamented his side's lack of ruthlessness in front of goal but was pleased to have tested a Chelsea side tipped by many to win the title.

"The good thing is we created chances throughout the game and made their goalkeeper work," he said. "We wanted to be positive and for the most part we played very well. But as always it's going to be how efficient you are in both penalty boxed and we didn't quite find the right way today."

Monk praises Swans' resilience

Garry Monk hailed the resolve of his Swansea City players after they earned a second successive victory, 1-0 against Burnley.

Nathan Dyer scored the only goal in the 23rd minute but Burnley came out fighting after the break and Swansea, who triumphed 2-1 at Manchester United last weekend, had to be on their guard to maintain their winning start to the season.

"I knew it would be tough," Monk said. "In the first half, we controlled it, but in the second we expected them to throw everything at us and they did. But you have to applaud our players.

"You have games like that and it's about the attitude of your players and the way they defended was superb, restricting Burnley to one shot on target. We matched them toe-for-toe and we defended properly.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche was pleased his side's performance after the break but would have preferred to have earned his side's first points of the campaign.

"Sometimes, when you are promoted, you are wondering if you belong here," he said. "In the first half, we showed them too much respect and at half-time I said, 'Go out and express yourselves'.

"The movement, energy and determination was good, but we have to learn quickly. We knew this would be a challenge, a difficult one, and we are enjoying the way the team are operating, but we need to get points on the board."

Zarate praised

Sam Allardyce lauded the display of Mauro Zarate as the Argentinian striker scored a superb opener on his debut in West Ham United's 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.

"He got his opportunity, he's taken it brilliantly today and hopefully he can continue to grow and improve," Allardyce said. "The quality of our finishing has been superb, that's why we're happy about the performance," Allardyce said. "Mauro's fantastic finish from outside the box and Stewart Downing's fantastic run and finish was of highest quality that Crystal Palace couldn't defend against."

For Crystal Palace caretaker manager Keith Millen the wait to replace Tony Pulis as permanent manager had an effect on his players.

"It's been a tough week for the players," he said. "I've tried to play it down before, in training they've been fine but never sure how they respond."

Koeman rues lack of 'zip'

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman believes a lack of pace in his side's performance ultimately cost them as they were held to a goalless draw by West Bromwich Albion in a match of few chances.

"The result is better than last week [when they lost 2-1 to Liverpool] but the feeling is different and that's strange in football," Koeman said. "Last week we deserved much more than we got but [on Saturday] it was difficult. We didn't have the tempo to create more."

Alan Irvine, the West Brom head coach, seemed happier than his Dutch counterpart with the point.

"I'm very, very pleased with that display," he said. "We were really solid. I saw Southampton play at Anfield last week and they looked a real threat going forward. But we were able to make sure they weren't able to cut us open today. I was pleased about that and pleased with how we passed the ball at times."

Lambert eyes Benteke return

Aston Villa manager said that Christian Benteke's return was closer after his side failed to muster a shot on target in the 0-0 draw with Newcastle United in the day's early kick-off. The Belgium striker has missed the start of the campaign with an Achilles injury from last season and Lambert believes the 23-year-old's impending return to action, coupled with their strong defence, who kept a second successive clean sheet, should help Villa succeed this term.

"Bearing in mind we've got Benteke to come back, [Libor] Kozak to come back, I'm pretty sure if one of them was there we'd have got at least a couple of goals," he said. "Christian should start training after the international break and we'll see how he is."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew expressed confidence that his side will soon register their first goal in the 2014/15 season after chances were missed at Villa Park.

"We've got goals in this team," he said. "It doesn't really overly concern me, but at the moment that's going to be put against us as we stand."

Remember you can follow how all the Barclays Premier League action unfolded in our Carlsberg Live Match Centre at live.premierleague.com.

Aston Villa 0-0 Newcastle United | #AVLNEW | More on Live Match Centre >>
Chelsea 2-0 Leicester City  |  #CHELEI  |  More on Live Match Centre >>
Crystal Palace 1-3 West Ham United   |  #CRYWHU  |  More on Live Match Centre >>
Southampton 0-0 West Brom   |   #SOUWBA  |  More on Live Match Centre >>
Swansea 1-0 Burnley   |  #SWABUR   |   More on Live Match Centre >>
Everton 2-2 Arsenal  |  #EVEARS   |   More on Live Match Centre >>

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