Arsene Wenger admitted a touch of disappointment after Alexis Sanchez took the penalty awarded to Arsenal in the first-half of their 4-1 win over Hull City on Saturday (18 September). Santi Cazorla is the designated penalty taker for the Gunners, and despite the Spaniard being on the pitch, the Chilean took the spot kick which was saved by the Tigers' stopper Eldin Jakupovic.
The French manager was unable to offer an explanation soon after the game, and despite suggesting that he wants the players to stick to the plan, he was clear that the missed penalty was not Sanchez's fault. The former Barcelona player could have had a hat-trick after he was credited with the first goal, which was a deflection from a goal-bound shot from Alex Iwobi, while he also scored Arsenal's third of the game. Theo Walcott and Granit Xhaka were the other two goal scorers in what was a convincing win over Mike Phelan's team.
"I have to check that but I think Santi was ahead on the list. We have three players and [maybe] he didn't want to take it? Did he tell Alexis to take it? I don't know," Wenger said following the 4-1 triumph, as quoted on Arsenal's official site.
"Look, ideally you want, as a manager, all the things to happen in the order you decided. We don't live in an ideal world in our game and, on the other hand, everybody has missed penalties, Santi as well. We have to accept that, that you can miss a penalty. The keeper made a good save, he didn't mishit it. That's part of the game."
The French manager was also delighted with his team for their response since the opening day loss against Liverpool. The north London club have won three and drawn one of their four games since the loss to the Reds. Wenger believes their improved fitness is one of the key reasons for their current form and is confident his team will continue to improve in the coming weeks.
"Look, we had a big shock in our first game and I said straight away after that first game that we face a mental test to see how well we respond. We went away to Leicester and to Watford straightaway. So overall I think we responded well. We were not ready physically at the start of the season, we are now much better so let's hope we can continue our improvement," he added.