Arsenal still in title race after draw, says Wenger

Spurs fight back from 3-1 down in six-goal thriller as Chelsea move up to second

Arsene Wenger insisted last night that his Arsenal team were not out of the Premier League title race after they missed the chance to close the gap on Manchester United in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Tottenham in which Arsenal twice led.

Wenger's side are now in third place after Chelsea beat Birmingham City 3-1 last night to move within six points of United with five games to play. Arsenal took the lead twice at White Hart Lane, leading 1-0 and 3-1, but could not hold out against a Tottenham team who finally equalised for the second time through a Rafael van der Vaart penalty on 70 minutes, his second goal of the game.

Wenger said that the title race was "completely open". "We have to get ready for the next game and fight as we do," he said. "This team has a remarkable attitude even if at the moment we are not rewarded with the number of points. We are remarkably consistent. We are on a run of 16 unbeaten games but we have not got enough points, we have too many draws. That is what we have to change before the end of the season."

Theo Walcott gave Arsenal a lead within four minutes before Van der Vaart equalised. Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie scored in the first half but Spurs went in only 3-2 down after Tom Huddlestone's goal. Gareth Bale went off at half-time after a collision with Wojciech Szczesny. Harry Redknapp said later that the new PFA Player of the Year was not seriously injured.

Wenger said that United's games against Arsenal on 1 May and Chelsea seven days later would be crucial. He said: "It is open. Chelsea are back in the race. Chelsea plays Man United, Chelsea plays Spurs. It is open. It is down to us to keep our faith and keep battling and we will not always draw when we score three goals. In the second half [last night] we suffered physically [after Sunday's game against Liverpool]."

Redknapp said that he still believed it would be difficult for Arsenal to win the title despite Manchester United's draw with Newcastle on Tuesday. Redknapp said: "I don't want to say that, that they have no chance. I would not be that disrespectful. But it is going to be hard and you could not really see them doing it now.

"[The difference is ] six points. It is going to be hard. But you don't know. Man United did not play that well [against Newcastle] so you don't know. Chelsea might win every game and United play them and Arsenal. It would not be the first time that we would see big leads turn around. Teams come from impossible positions and you could not be sure."

The Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti, said "everything is open" after seeing his team's 3-1 victory over Birmingham City that moved them above Arsenal and up to second in the Premier League table, with two goals from Florent Malouda and another from Salomon Kalou.

The defending champions are on a run of six wins and a draw in their last seven League games, which has put them back with a slim chance of retaining their title.

Ancelotti said: "Everything is open. If we thought that one month ago we'd have a little chance to come back to fight for the title, I think that everyone could have said we were crazy. Now we are happy because we've reached second place. We await to see what happens in the next five games."

Ancelotti said he would rather be in United's position, but believes his team could yet finish top, particularly as Chelsea must travel to Old Trafford in two weeks' time.

"Our aim is to try and win every game. After that, we can see how our result and our position in the table. Six points at this stage with five games to go will not be easy, but we don't have to think we can or can't do this," he said.

"Our aim is to stay focused on the next five games. After that, we can say if the season was good or not good. Obviously, I would like to be in United's position, six points ahead. That's a lot at this stage of the season."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own