Wenger convinced rivals will stutter

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger knows full well that no prizes are handed out for being top at Christmas - and he remains convinced the teams above the Gunners will slip up as his men battle to get themselves back into the title race next year.

The north Londoners remain eight points off the pace following yesterday's 1-1 draw with leaders Liverpool at Emirates Stadium, where they played the final half hour with 10 men after striker Emmanuel Adebayor was sent off.

However, perhaps more significantly, Arsenal remain out of the top four, now also behind Aston Villa whom they face away on Boxing Day.

While Liverpool could yet be knocked off top spot by Chelsea, who play Everton tonight, the new year looks set to be a hard battle to prove Wenger's squad have the stomach to somehow claw themselves back into contention.

But the Gunners boss maintained: "The title is won in May and we are in December. Mathematically we will fight until the end.

"I believe Liverpool will drop many points. I am convinced of that.

"They had four draws at home. That means they dropped eight points, why shouldn't they drop eight more in the second half of the season?"

Robin van Persie had fired Arsenal ahead with a fine strike after 24 minutes, only for former Tottenham striker Robbie Keane to equalise ahead of the interval when the home defence failed to deal with a high ball up field.

The flash point, though, came on the hour when referee Howard Webb showed Adebayor his second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa.

The African striker hit out at Liverpool defender Arbeloa for acting like he had been "knifed", as he fell to the ground dramatically clutching his face.

Replays suggested Adebayor had indeed gone in with a raised boot, rather than a flaying arm, and as such probably merited another caution.

He said: "I cannot say he cheated, but what he did wasn't fair play at all.

"The defender threw himself on the floor as if I put a knife in him."

Arsenal's frustrations were made worse by the loss of captain Cesc Fabregas at half-time with a knee injury which could keep him out of the festive programme.

Wenger said: "Of course it is a blow. We do not want to lose a player like that, but we have to cope with it."

Liverpool were without manager Rafael Benitez, who was back on Merseyside recovering from an operation on his troublesome kidney stones.

Assistant Sammy Lee hailed his team's efforts.

"Our lads deserve credit as well. After going a goal down we felt we took control of the game and got back into it," he said.

"To come to a place like Arsenal and get a point, you would have been happy before, but we always go out to win the game so we are a little bit disappointed."

Benitez used a phone link with his goalkeeping coach to keep in touch with events at Emirates Stadium.

"His bill will be quite big to be honest. Technology as it is, it was never going to be a problem," said Lee.

"It is great testament to his professionalism because he has been in a lot of pain.

"I hope he can settle down and get 100% right for the schedule."

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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
and  

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat