Wenger admits title race is lost after derby defeat

Tottenham resist late onslaught from Arsenal who remain six points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea
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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger last night conceded that Arsenal are out of the Premier League title race after Tottenham Hotspur recorded their first league victory over their north London rivals since 1999 in a memorable night at White Hart Lane.

The 19-year-old Danny Rose scored a remarkable goal on his Premier League debut for the first of Spurs' goals in a 2-1 victory but it was the Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes who kept his side in front at the end with four late saves – three of them from Arsenal substitute Robin van Persie.

Wenger's team came close to equalising after Nicklas Bendtner scored with five minutes left but Spurs, whose second goal came from Gareth Bale, held out for a famous win. It leaves Arsenal six points behind leaders Chelsea with four games to play and two behind Manchester United in second place.

Wenger said: "There is too much to do to win the title. We are very unlikely to win it, but we will continue to fight – you never know. Even a point would not have been good enough. We lost a game we couldn't afford to lose in the title race and that shows we are not mature enough. If you want to win the title this is the kind of game you can't lose.

"It will be difficult [to win the title]. We are six points behind and we will continue to fight. As long as it is mathematically possible you cannot say it is impossible. Our job is to fight and we will do that."

There was also a veiled dig by Wenger at some of his under-achieving players such as Emmanuel Eboué, Bacary Sagna and Denilson who failed to perform last night. The Arsenal manager said that 35-year-old Sol Campbell, who was barracked relentlessly by the Spurs fans, had set an example to the younger players. Wenger said: "Sol was one of our better players. He has shown the way to some players. What a winner he is. He showed what you need if you want to win titles. He deserves a lot of credit because he turned up with a real performance."

Wenger's side play Wigan Athletic on Sunday but they must do so without Thomas Vermaelen who suffered a calf strain last night that will rule him out for up to three weeks. Arsenal are now without both their first choice centre-backs, although they did at least welcome back Van Persie who has not played since November with ruptured ankle ligaments.

"Until Van Persie came on and transformed our game in the final third, we had a lot of possession but we were relatively inefficient because our passing was not quick enough," Wenger said. "If you look at the Chelsea game [against Bolton on Tuesday night], they were not exceptional but they have had the luck."

Harry Redknapp described Rose's goal as "amazing" and said that his team, who play Chelsea and Manchester United in their next two games, were still in the race for the fourth Champions League place. Redknapp said: "We knew the importance of the game. I said that if we won [against Arsenal] we still have a good chance of that fourth spot. And they responded. It was an amazing goal from Danny."