Arsenal will fight to the finish, vows Wenger
Arsene Wenger has asked his Arsenal players to fight until the end in the Premier League title race after suffering a huge blow to their hopes during a controversial 1-1 draw against Liverpool.
London: Arsene Wenger has asked his Arsenal players to fight until the end in the Premier League title race after suffering a huge blow to their hopes during a controversial 1-1 draw against Liverpool.
Wenger`s team had to settle for a point as Dirk Kuyt`s penalty, with the last action of the game at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, cancelled out Robin van Persie`s stoppage-time spot-kick.
It leaves Arsenal six points behind Manchester United with just six games to play this season and time running out to catch Sir Alex Ferguson`s league leaders.
"We have to give everything until the last game of the season and see if it is our year or not," Wenger said.
"It`s about us winning our games. We are on a 15-game unbeaten run in the league but we have not taken enough points recently. The players are very disappointed. Who wouldn`t be?”
"We have to continue to play and fight until the last moment. We have players who are ambitious and want to do as well as they can.”
"We`ve had disappointments before and bounced back. That is what we have to do."
Wenger was furious with referee Andre Marriner for awarding a penalty 11 minutes into stoppage-time for Emmanuel Eboue`s clumsy barge on Lucas Leiva, who appeared to wait for contact before falling to the turf.
"We conceded a penalty after 11 minutes when the referee said there was eight minutes of injury time," Wenger said.
"I don`t see where those three minutes came from and it was no penalty. Lucas stopped in front of Eboue."
It led to a furious protest from Wenger, although Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish appeared to dismiss his complaints during a touchline confrontation.
"I said to Dalglish it was not a penalty. That was all. You can check it on the TV," Wenger said.
"We have been badly done by in the two games here. Against Sunderland we scored a regular goal and were not given a penalty that was 100 percent.”
"Against Liverpool we got caught like that. It`s a period where we have not the biggest luck, that`s for sure."
Van Persie`s goal came after Martin Skrtel tripped Cesc Fabregas, although Dalglish felt defeat would have been harsh on his players.
The result worked in the favour of Liverpool`s bitter rivals at Old Trafford but Dalglish added: "We never handed anything to anyone. In fact, we beat them (United) 3-1 at Anfield so I don`t know how we handed them anything if we beat them.
"We`ll look after ourselves and if anyone gets any advantage from our results then so be it. We can only look after ourselves and that`s what we always do."
United could overtake Liverpool`s shared record of 18 league titles this season, but Dalglish added: "In my eyes we`re still the best club in English football, if not world football. So I`m not very sad at that.
"The surprise is that we have not won the title for a long time, that is the surprise but it`s not sadness. It`s just a fact of life.”
"They never acquired enough points in any season since then to win it. They came close a couple of years ago when Rafa (Benitez) went close, had a fantastic record against the so-called top four but just couldn`t get it over the line."