Wenger fears price of misses

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger hopes Arsenal's failure to make the most of their chances does not come back to haunt them in the return leg of the Champions League clash with Roma.

A first-half penalty from Robin van Persie gave the Gunners a slender advantage to take back to Italy in a fortnight's time.

However, the trip to the Stadio Olimpico - which will host the Champions League final in May - should have been academic given the number of clear opportunities created by the Gunners.

Both Nicklas Bendtner and Emmanuel Eboue were guilty of not putting the ball in the back of the net when given a clean sight of goal as Arsenal continued to show a lack of composure which has seen them fail to score in any of their last three Barclays Premier League games.

Nevertheless, Wenger is confident of progress to the quarter-finals.

"There was room to score more. We lack maybe a bit of spontaneity because we want to do so well," said the Arsenal manager, whose side are now unbeaten in 14 games.

"That is the regret we have - I am happy with our performance, but of course there was room to score more goals.

"We know we need to attack over there. If we score once that should be enough.

Wenger, though, knows the job is only half done.

"The next game will of course be an interesting one because they will throw much more forward," said the Arsenal boss.

"We have three more games between this tie and the second leg. At the speed we lose players it can be a difficulty for us."

The second half opened in farcical fashion as Roma kicked off when Arsenal only had nine men on the field.

William Gallas and Kolo Toure eventually dashed out from the tunnel, with the Ivory Coast defender running straight onto the pitch - and he was promptly booked by Danish referee Claus Bo Larsen for entering the field of play without permission.

Wenger revealed: "It's explainable by the fact that Kolo always goes out last. He waited for William, but didn't know William had treatment.

"He didn't know the game had started without them. He was putting on his boots.

"I don't know if it is superstition. It is our fault. You have to be ready when the bell rings."

Toure was pleased the Gunners managed to keep a clean sheet and deny Roma an away goal.

"We played a really strong game," he said. "It was really tough and we didn't concede, which is good for the next game.

"We hope in Rome we will achieve qualification."

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti, meanwhile, accepted he could have little complaint with the result, but feels the tie remains delicately balanced.

The Serie A side had looked dangerous on the break in spells and Marco Motta forced a fine finger-tip save from Gunners goalkeeper Manuel Almunia during the first half.

"I feel confident to say we have the same chances as Arsenal, maybe 49% for us and 51 for Arsenal because they have the goal," said Spalletti.

"But we can create chances and I am sure it will be a completely different game in the second leg."

Comments