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Arsenal’s response to defeat will define season: Wenger

Arsenal need to respond with quality and belief when they take on Crystal Palace following their painful season-opening Premier League defeat against West Ham United, manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday.

West Ham dashed Wenger’s hopes of making a fast start to the season when they capitalised on errors by goalkeeper Petr Cech to secure a 2-0 victory at The Emirates last weekend.

Wenger backed Cech to bounce back quickly after the Czech international, hailed by supporters as the missing piece in Arsenal’s quest for a first Premier League title since 2004, flopped on debut following his arrival from champions Chelsea.

“He (Cech) analyses very well. He’s a bright man and he knows that it is down to how well he responds,” the Frenchman told reporters.

“A defeat is never a blessing. It always hurts. We have analysed what has happened but that should not take our belief away.

“We were defensively quite sound but we made two mistakes we paid for. We were not creative or accurate enough.

“We have shown that we have the quality to respond, so let’s focus on that on Sunday. It’s how you respond that makes your season.”

The Gunners travel to Crystal Palace on Sunday with Chile international Alexis Sanchez, who returned late to training after the Copa America, back in contention but striker Danny Welbeck is “at least three weeks away” with a knee injury.

Arsenal last lost to Palace in a top-flight match in 1979 but the south London club have shown steady progress since returning to the Premier League in 2013 and earned praise from Wenger for their work in the transfer window.

Former Arsenal transfer target Yohan Cabaye has joined from Paris St Germain for a club-record fee of 10 million pounds ($ 15.60 million), goal-scoring winger Bakary Sako moved from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a free, while young strikers Patrick Bamford and Connor Wickham have added firepower up front.

“They have made great additions,” Wenger said. “Cabaye has a good eye, a good long pass and that’s important for Crystal Palace.”

Wenger said he is still looking to add to his squad before the transfer window closes but will not rush into the market despite Arsenal losing their opening match of the season.

“When you lose a game you always get those demands,” he said. “If we find somebody, anywhere who will strengthen our squad, we will do it.

“But it is not easy, it is not supermarket stuff where you go in and say ‘I would like this please.’”

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