The Gunners maintained third place after gaining a point at the Emirates against a battling Chelsea, but they deserved more.
Arsenal hit the posts twice through Van Persie and Koscielny, and failed to capitalize on promising positions which meant they were unable to extend the gap between themselves and fourth placed Newcastle.
Rivals spurs dropped points however later in the afternoon, but Toon are hot on Arsenal’s trial after an emphatic 3-0 win over the Gunners next opponents Stoke City.
Wenger believes the result was not a fair reflection of the performance with nerves guilty of foiling a host of chances. But a point is a point, and against Chelsea you can not complain. Wenger said at his post-match conference:
on whether it was a fair result:
It was a very unfair result but it is a result. I think [we should have had a penalty], I think also we had chances. At the end of the game we had the chances and they had zero. I cannot remember them having one chance. Having said that it was a little bit of a strange game because before the game I thought it would be an open one – we had to win, they had to win. They decided to lock up the game and catch us on the break only, with two wide players who are quick, and Torres.
on his team’s performance:
On our side I felt we had a very solid defensive performance. Going forward we didn’t find our quick passing game and the regret we have today is that we played offensively with a handbrake and not as clean technically as we can do. That is why we didn’t open them up enough. It was a bit similar to what we saw against Wigan and that’s a regret I have today. They had three defensive midfielders with Romeu, Malouda and Essien in the middle of the park so it was very difficult to play through there. It was very physical as well. They adopted a little bit the system they played against Barcelona – certainly they wanted to practice for Tuesday night.
on whether tiredness is creeping in:
No, I feel that we were a bit nervous today because we lost against Wigan and you could see it played a part in the fact that we played with the handbrake in the first half. To have an open game the two [teams] must go for it, but Chelsea never came really out.
on Theo Walcott’s injury:
It looks like a serious hamstring. First we assessed the hamstring, he wanted to go on and stay on the pitch, and I think he should have gone off straight away because the second time it was a real hamstring [injury]. I think now for him it will be tough to come back before the end of the season. It is usually 21 days [minimum]. He should be OK to play for England – he just will have a good rest. You suddenly become favourite to win the European Championship! But I don’t think he will be ready to play for us.
on whether his players were trying too hard:
No, I just felt we were a bit nervous today because we knew we could not afford to lose the game. We didn’t pass the ball quickly enough. Chelsea are experienced enough to force you to play the ball where they want you to play it. We couldn’t open them up enough and our change of pace in the game wasn’t good enough.
on Robin van Persie:
He played his 50th game [of the season] today and he gave absolutely everything again today. He was unlucky in the first half, he had a free kick he deflected and it was a clear-cut chance. Then when he was through I think he rushed his decision making a bit, when he took it with his right foot, because he had Diaby coming in completely on his own. It was not easy for him because he was completely on his own at some stages with not enough support. And he was caught offside one time and I am not sure he was.
on the race for Champions League places:
What it means is that we have to win the rest of our games and we have to look at the results over the weekend as well.
The Gunners really missed Arteta’s finesse today as he has often been the orchestrator of Arsenal’s quick, flowing passing game. His ‘curse’ continues once again unfortunately with the Gunners unable to win a league game this season without him, but hopefully they can improve on this performance.
Koscielny and his backline were sensational today, they threw themselves at everything and he was very unlucky to net the opener, while Gibbs demonstrated why he should be the number one left back after a solid performance but again in attack like everyone else he was over cautious.
The remaining matches are getting tougher and tougher with Walcott now ruled out of the final three matches which is a big blow, they must dig deep next week against a very tough Stoke City.
Match report to follow…
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