Wenger says Arsenal have title chance
Monday 22 March 2010
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes his side have the stomach to take the battle for the Barclays Premier League crown right to the wire.
Saturday's 2-0 win over West Ham at Emirates Stadium maintained the pressure on Manchester United and Chelsea at the summit.
Brazilian midfielder Denilson fired the Gunners in front after only five minutes and Cesc Fabregas wrapped up the win late on to leave Wenger's youngsters very much in the hunt for a first title since the Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004.
Wenger said: "We are not under any special pressure because we are beyond expectation.
"We want to win the trophy because we are all conscious we have won nothing yet - the hunger is there, the talent is there and I think the nerves are there.
"We have a good chance to do it this year."
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola was left to look to the future after a loss which kept the Hammers three points above the drop zone.
Wolves, a point ahead of the Hammers, visit Upton Park tomorrow night and Zola said: "Our next two games will tell us a lot, especially the next one when we are playing against a team who are more or less in the same position as us. It will be massive."
Iain Dowie took charge of Hull for the first time on Saturday but could not reverse their lamentable away form as two goals in the final three minutes secured a 3-2 win for Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
A Caleb Folan braced looked set to hand the Tigers three vital points in their battle against relegation, but strikes by Tommy Smith, Jamie O'Hara and Kanu ensured Avram Grant's men took the points in the week they were deducted nine points by the Premier League for going into administration.
Dowie said: "It's a cruel, cruel game but there was enough spirit and tenacity to please me.
"There was always a mountain to climb but I won't be downbeat."
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy was full of praise for his side as they eased their relegation concerns with a battling 2-2 draw at Aston Villa.
Villa needed a late goal from John Carew - his second of the game - to rescue the game after Wolves had moved ahead through Jody Craddock and a James Milner own goal.
"When Villa's first goal went in, I suppose everyone expected them to go on and win by four or five goals," said McCarthy.
"It was nice to kick against the trend and it was a terrific performance and a fabulous point."
Villa's slip in the race for fourth place was Tottenham's gain as Spurs secured a 2-1 win at Stoke, who lost Dean Whitehead to a red card.
Eidur Gudjohnsen scored Spurs' opener then played a superb dummy to tee up the winner for Niko Kranjcar after Matthew Etherington had equalised from the penalty spot.
It was not all good news for Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, who saw his lengthy injury list increase when Roman Pavlyuchenko limped off in the first half.
Redknapp said: "We are so short of players it's unbelievable.
"The number of players we've got out injured or on loan we could pick a terrific team out of."
Burnley remain three points from safety after a stoppage-time Hugo Rodallega strike condemned them to a 1-0 defeat at Wigan.
Burnley boss Brian Laws was left devastated by the loss and now faces a struggle to pick up his players ahead of another local derby at home to Blackburn on Sunday.
"I sincerely believe I will have to pick up the players over the next few days," said Laws.
"But they're human beings after all, and it's an emotional game. If you're not hurt by that then you're not human."
Everton were 2-0 winners at home to Bolton thanks to goals from Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar, while Darren Bent grabbed a brace and Fraizer Campbell was also on target as Sunderland sealed a 3-1 win over Birmingham, who pulled one back through Cameron Jerome.
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