Monday, January 18, 2010

We can sustain title bid - Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's 2-0 win at Bolton proves they are relishing being surprise title challengers.
The Gunners seemed to be out of the title race going into December, yet a two-goal home win against the Trotters on Wednesday will see them move top.
"We are in a quite interesting position where nobody expected us to be," the Arsenal manager said ahead of a second clash with Bolton in a week.
"Our motivation will be 100%. We have the belief and we want to have a go."
Sunday's win ensured Arsenal remain three points behind leaders Chelsea and two behind second-place Manchester United, having played a game less than Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
"We are a big club and when you are a big club the most difficult thing is like what happened last year, when in October you know you will not fight for the title," added Wenger.


"Now we have a chance to fight for it so let's have a go."
After suffering a 3-0 home defeat against Chelsea on 29 November, Wenger's side have responded by dropping just four points in their next eight matches.
The Blues have dropped nine points in their seven matches since that emphatic win over their London rivals and defending champions Manchester United have dropped eight points during the same period.
In contrast, Arsenal have taken 20 of 24 points available since losing to Chelsea, culminating in Sunday's win at the Reebok Stadium and Wenger will hope his side can show the same ruthlessness when the sides meet again on Wednesday in a return meeting rearranged because of recent bad weather.
However, the match is likely to be another stern test of Arsenal's title ambitions, with Bolton appearing rejuvenated as Owen Coyle took charge for the first time at the weekend.
Arsenal took the lead through returning captain Cesc Fabregas midway through the first-half but were then forced to repel long periods of pressure from the home side before Fran Merida's 78th minute goal sealed the victory.
"We are a team that likes to go forward and it was important not to make mistakes when we went ahead," said Wenger.
"It was important for us not to get to the last 15 minutes only one goal up and the second goal killed the game.
"There is still more to come, because we are still a young team and we have more personality during the difficult points of game."
Wenger enthused over the performance of Fabregas, who capped his return after three games out with a hamstring injury with a fine all-round midfield performance and his 13th goal of the season.
"Fabregas likes to go forward but he has improved defensively as well," said Wenger.
"What is very interesting for us is Cesc gets stronger and stronger and has more personality on the pitch, like the whole team.
"He grows. He will be 23 this year - he is just starting."
At 19, Merida is yet another young Arsenal player making his mark thought he might not have been given his chance to play at Bolton had it not been for injuries to fellow midfielders Samir Nasri (hamstring) and Aaron Ramsey (thigh).
Wenger revealed that the duo are likely to be sidelined for three weeks, while Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner are likely to be out for a fortnight.


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