We can still win the title insists defiant Wenger
Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal can still win the Premier League title despite his side's failure to close the gap on leaders Liverpool.sports Updated: Dec 22, 2008 13:05 IST
Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal can still win the Premier League title despite his side's failure to close the gap on leaders Liverpool.
The Gunners remain eight points behind Liverpool after Sunday's 1-1 draw against Rafa Benitez's team at the Emirates Stadium.
It is a substantial deficit, especially considering Arsenal still have daunting trips to Anfield, Old Trafford and Villa Park to come, but Wenger is adamant Liverpool will slip up and he expects his team to take advantage.
"We are not out of the race because the title is won in May and we are in December," Wenger said. "Mathamatically we will fight until the end. I believe Liverpool will drop many points. I am convinced of that.
"They had four draws at home. That means they dropped eight points, why shouldn't they drop eight more in the second half of the season?"
Wenger took heart from the way Arsenal dug in to take a point after Emmanuel Adebayor's second-half dismissal for two bookings.
But the French coach felt Howard Webb's decision to send off Adebayor, who had already been shown a yellow card in the first half, for barging into Alvaro Arbeloa, stopped his team taking three points.
"Overall I believe we have shown great spirit and quality for a team down to 10 men but we are disappointed because we wanted two more points," he said.
"But even with 10 men we were quite solid and I think we have improved on our defending in the last month."
Adebayor was furious with the red card. He claimed Arbeloa was guilty of exaggerating the contact and insisted Webb should admit he made a mistake.
"I hope when the referee goes home and watches it on the television, he will see it was a foul but I didn't deserve a card. It was a mistake from him," Adebayor said.
"He said it was for the leg but if I don't put my body in there I would never score a goal in this league. We have to protect the ball, which is normal and that's what I tried to do.
"The defender threw himself on the floor as if I put a knife in him. Of course I'm annoyed. We are all here to play and if you win or lose you have to do it with 11.
"I cannot say he cheated but what he did wasn't fair play at all."
Liverpool assistant manager Sammy Lee, who took charge of the team while Rafa Benitez recovered from an operation to remove kidney stones, agreed that Arsenal's battling display showed they are still a title contender.
"I have far too much respect for Arsenal. I don't know anything that has been won or lost in December," Lee said. "They are such a terrific side, we saw that here. They have quality throughout and there is no way they are out of the title race."
If Liverpool are to end their 18-year wait to be crowned kings of English football, they need Keane to reproduce the superb finish that cancelled out van Persie's opener on a more regular basis.
Keane has cut a forlorn figure for most of the season after scoring just twice in the league since his 20 million-pound move from Tottenham.
Perhaps the Ireland forward was inspired by the jeers from the Arsenal fans who still remember his time down the road at White Hart Lane, but he finally looked a more dangerous proposition.
Lee insisted Keane had never lacked confidence and claimed his recent spell on the bench were just to save him for the rest of the season rather than a reflection of his form.
"If you ask anybody goals always give you confidence but I've got to be honest Robbie hasn't been lacking confidence," Lee said.
"We are fully aware of the programme we have ahead of us. If some players don't get picked people take something out of it but it is a long, arduous campaign we have ahead of us. We have to use all the players."