English Premiership

Arsenal had to steady their nerves, says Wenger

2016-11-28 13:53
Arsene Wenger (Getty Images)

London - Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal had to conquer their nerves before securing the 3-1 win that thrust them back in the Premier League title race.

Wenger's side had fallen six points behind leaders Chelsea after drawing three of their last four league games and they were in danger of another damaging setback at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Having led through Alexis Sanchez's early goal, the Gunners were pegged back by Callum Wilson's controversial penalty midway through the first half.

With the Arsenal faithful getting restless, Wenger revealed he had tried to calm his players down at half-time as they wrestled with the anxieties caused by three successive draws.

They responded to Wenger's pep talk by scoring twice after half-time through Theo Walcott and Sanchez to move within three points of Chelsea.

"We started well but when they equalised we became nervous," Wenger said.

"That is where the three draws were on our mind. It was down to us to calm down at half-time and just focus on the game."

Wenger was frustrated by referee Mike Jones' decision to award Bournemouth's penalty for an innocuous collision between Wilson and Nacho Monreal and he was fearing the worst at that point.

"My view is we should have had a penalty on Sanchez and Bournemouth's was a very soft one," he said.

"It was shoulder to shoulder. I was really amazed he gave it.

"We became nervous and they became more dynamic. For me it's not exactly the side I wanted to play. They are a tricky side and keep the ball well."

Driven on by the irrepressible Sanchez, Arsenal eventually find their rhythm in the second half and Wenger was quick to pay tribute to the Chile forward, who has scored 10 goals this season.

"Sanchez, even though he looks dead he is still alive. He finds the resources to win the ball and do something special," Wenger said.

"He has the guts. He has that conditioning which allows him to always find an extra gear to be dangerous."

ESSENTIAL

Wenger said he knows keeping Sanchez is essential if Arsenal are to challenge for major silverware, even if performances like this mean he could demand a bigger salary.

Asked if Arsenal were any closer to tying up a contract extension with Sanchez, Wenger added: "It is important, how important I don't know.

"We won't do that tonight. We have some time.

"You (the media) like us to spend money, so you should be happy!"

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was frustrated that his team left empty-handed despite an enterprising display and he took a shot at Jones for failing to award his team a second penalty for a handball by Monreal.

"We were well in that game, we created a number of chances. The 3-1 scoreline is difficult to take," he said.

"It's difficult here, especially when you are Bournemouth. A couple of things have gone against us.

"I'm not a fan of really soft penalties, but a bit of consistency seems to have gone out of the game.

"But we were without a number of players today and there wasn't much between the teams.

"The future of the team is good. I back us to be okay this season."

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
10 December 2016
Arsenal v Stoke City, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Hull City v Crystal Palace, Kingston Communications Stadium 17:00
Swansea City v Sunderland, Liberty Stadium 17:00
Burnley v AFC Bournemouth, Turf Moor 17:00
Leicester City v Manchester City, King Power Stadium 19:30
11 December 2016
Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion, Stamford Bridge 14:00
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Old Trafford 16:15
Southampton v Middlesbrough, St. Mary's Stadium 16:15
Liverpool v West Ham United, Anfield 18:30
13 December 2016
Everton v Arsenal, Goodison Park 21:45
AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City, Vitality Stadium 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.