| 16.4°C Dublin

Wenger revels in shooting down poachers

ARSENE Wenger joked Manchester City would try to poach more of his Arsenal players after watching his current crop put his former stars to shame.

Wenger looked on yesterday as the Gunners delivered a potentially fatal blow to City's Premier League title hopes with a 1-0 win at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have lost Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Kolo Toure to Roberto Mancini's men, who have also been heavily linked with Robin van Persie, and asked if he took extra satisfaction as a result, he smiled: "You can take that both ways. Maybe they'll now want some others."

Mikel Arteta fired home a brilliant late winner to lift the Gunners back into the top three and leave City - who saw maverick striker Mario Balotelli sent off in stoppage-time and potentially facing a lengthy ban - eight points behind leaders Manchester United, who had beaten QPR earlier in the day.

Wenger feels Arsenal, who have now won eight of the last nine games, are all set to end what has been a frustrating campaign on a positive note.

"I always felt the goal would come, but it was very tight and in the end you feel it is important not to lose," Wenger said.


"We kept going and at home recently we have produced some outstanding performances against any team.

"I am very happy we got the win and the team continues to grow in quality."

Mancini cut a forlorn figure at the final whistle, as his position will now once again come under intense scrutiny.

Wenger, though, does not believe the title race is "completely" over.

He said: "They cannot afford to drop any points now.

"Once the team 'smelt the stable', it's difficult for them to drop points.

"In French, you say when a horse smells its stable, it's difficult to stop them."