Arsène Wenger complained bitterly about Didier Drogba's first goal for Chelsea - claiming it was "really offside" and that John Terry had committed a foul in the build-up. But the Arsenal manager also admitted that his team need to "learn how to win a game again" before they can even begin to "dream" of winning the Premier League.
"It was a game we should have won but we showed some lapses of concentration which we paid for," Wenger said while accusing Chelsea of resorting to little more than "long ball" football as they chased the game.
"But we did not deal with it," Wenger added. "We have some defensive problems that we need to sort out. We gave away an easy goal against Middlesbrough, against Aston Villa and again today. The spirit is right, the mentality is fantastic but we needed a bit more defensive authority. You can say we played badly but we were vulnerable today. [Nicolas] Anelka came on for them, and they decided to play long ball, which put us under a lot of pressure and that was the only way they could trouble us. We were 1-0 up and had it in out hands but in the end we lost the game."
Understandably, Wenger refused to concede that Arsenal were no longer in the title race but said it was not a topic of conversation that could be broached before his team earned another win. They have now earned just one win – against Milan – in eight games. An ankle injury to goal-scorer Bacary Sagna, he felt, was a turning point as it "disturbed" his team. Gaël Clichy also damaged a hamstring.
For under-pressure Chelsea manager, Avram Grant, there was the satisfaction of not only having overhauled Arsenal in the league table – but finally overcoming the criticism he has faced that he has not won a so-called "big game" this season. "This time I can agree with you," Grant said when asked about the significance of defeating a team in the top four.
Grant said he felt Chelsea now had a great opportunity of winning the league. "We are in with a chance," he said. "We are still chasing but we are now closer to the top." That belief is partly fuelled by the fact that Manchester United also have to visit Stamford Bridge.
"When I took over [last September] we always needed to chase Manchester United and Arsenal," Grant added. "What we wanted was for them to come to Stamford Bridge with us having a chance to win to go ahead of them."
Grant claimed not to have heard the chants of calling for Jose Mourinho. "I was concentrating only about the game," the manager said.Reuse content