Swansea 2 Arsenal 1: Arsene Wenger admits finding it 'difficult to explain how we lost the lead'

Alexis Sanchez had put the Gunners ahead in the 63rd minute

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A devastated Arsène Wenger laid bare his disappointment and all but handed the title to Chelsea after Arsenal blew a winning position for the second time in a week to lose 2-1 to Swansea today.

Second-half goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and substitute Bafetimbi Gomis took Swansea to fifth in the Premier League after Alexis Sanchez struck first for Arsenal with 27 minutes  to go.

Wenger accused his team of committing suicide after the 3-3 Champions League draw with Anderlecht on Tuesday. After this defeat, he waved the white flag in the fight for the Premier League title, claiming that Chelsea could end up with 100 points.

“It has been a disappointing week considering the performances we produced. We lost two points against Anderlecht and three today. When you are 1-0 up and you are a big team you have to win the game. No one will touch Chelsea if they keep it up, they could be on course to break 100.

“Nobody looks capable of challenging at the moment. I don’t know how this will affect us. As long as we don’t lose belief we will be OK. I don’t know how damaging it will be but the table is very disappointing.”

 

Despite Arsenal being torn apart down their right side, with Calum Chambers enduring a torrid afternoon against the man of the match Jefferson Montero, Wenger chose not to change the shape of his team, though he did introduce Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere in the last 15 minutes. 

“We were quite in control and allowed them back into the game,” the manager said. “It is unfortunate to lose a game like that. It was a decent performance for 75 minutes, but you have to last 90. We were in a position where we had to go forward but lost challenges in midfield.”

While most would see a pattern developing, Wenger insisted the three-goal surrender to Anderlecht was not a factor. “I don’t think Tuesday played a part. You have to give Swansea credit. They are a good team, they did not give up and he [Sigurdsson] took his free-kick well.

“We have played a lot. We gave a lot. Overall, we controlled them defensively but in the last 15 minutes they came back and we allowed them to be dangerous. It is always difficult at 1-0. We have to take it on the chin. We have to respond with the right attitude.”

The Swansea manager, Garry Monk, has no such issues. Only goal difference keeps them out of the top four as the Premier League pauses for the international break.

“We prepared for the best Arsenal. We saw what happened in the week but we know they can hurt you at any moment. I know they suffered in the week but they can strike quickly. I think we contained them very well,” Monk said.

“I’m happy to go into the international break with a big win behind us. We have belief in ourselves. We won’t always get it right but I have to be happy with the points tally we have. We might have had even more. It shows we must be doing something right. I’m sure Arsenal will be pushing for the top four come the end of the season. We saw the best Arsenal in spells, but they are not my concern.”

Though Monk was keen to praise the team effort he could not ignore the performance down the left wing of the outstanding Montero. “He had everything today,” Monk said. “He was the most consistent on both sides for 90 minutes but it is about the team today. To a man they were brilliant.”

Comments