Wenger is stunned by Arsenal capitulation

Gunners squander two-goal lead against Wigan to leave title race between Chelsea and Manchester Utd

Before kick-off at the DW Stadium yesterday, Arsène Wenger had insisted that Chelsea's 2-1 defeat at Spurs on Saturday meant he had probably conceded the title too early on Wednesday night at White Hart Lane. However, three Wigan goals in the final 10 minutes of a contest Arsenal controlled but lost 3-2 ensured he would not have to make a retraction.

Instead the Arsenal manager was left to warn his players that they still needed to ensure they were not caught by Tottenham or Manchester City for third place: "We would have been back in the title race had we won here, absolutely, but now we need to focus on winning on last three games. Tottenham can still catch us, Manchester City can still catch us, and so we need to win these last three games."

Wenger, whose side had not lost after going two goals up for nearly 12 years, blamed what proved a terminal defeat on Arsenal immaturity and complacency. "I believe the goals we conceded were very poor," he said. "Unlucky, but poor. In football you have to keep focused for 90 minutes, especially against a team that is fighting to stay up like Wigan were today. We did not stay concentrated and we were punished for that in the end."

Another error from Lukasz Fabianski that gifted Wigan their equaliser once more reopened the debate about the quality of goalkeepers Wenger has brought to the Emirates. Wenger disagreed with a suggestion by one of his former players, Paul Merson, that Arsenal would never win a title until they bought a high-class keeper: "Everybody has an opinion. I will keep my opinion to myself. You cannot say we lost this game because of the goalkeeper but I will have to look at the goal again. I thought Wigan's first goal was very important. We were not in the right position for that goal and that was an important moment. In top-level competition, you have to be focused for 90 minutes or you'll lose games." Asked who he thought would now win the title, Wenger replied that he neither knew nor cared.

At Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti predicted his team, who saw their lead cut to a single point by Manchester United on Saturday, would cope with the additional pressure. "It's not a time now to be disappointed, it's a time to stay calm and to look forward to the next game," he said, adding that Paul Scholes' late winner in the Manchester derby had not unhinged Chelsea mentally.

Chelsea's problems, though, were made more intense by the loss of John Terry for Sunday's encounter with Stoke at Stamford Bridge, a day after United face a resurgent Tottenham.

Discussing the challenge on Gareth Bale that saw his captain dismissed at White Hart Lane, Ancelotti said: "I was a player and you know sometimes you are not always rational. I think people are looking at his performances too much. He has had a fantastic season and maybe against Tottenham he didn't play too well. But you have to look at Terry's season in total and he has been fantastic."

The big winners on a weekend where they were expected to be eclipsed by their neighbours at Eastlands were Manchester United, whose captain, Gary Neville, declared that nothing was settled yet: "People probably thought the championship would have been decided by us dropping points at City and Chelsea winning at Tottenham but that wasn't the case.

"Obviously, we would prefer to be in Chelsea's position because they are ahead, but we know if we win our three remaining matches and Chelsea slip up again, the title will be ours. We were hoping there would be twists and turns before the end of the season like there was yesterday, and we hope there are more to come."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Silva strokes home his and City's second goal
football
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas