Friday 24 November 2017

Wenger admits Arsenal need to be more clinical

Jeremy Wilson

Arsene Wenger saw his Arsenal team lose for the fifth consecutive time against Chelsea and admitted that they will never regain the Premier League title without becoming more clinical both in attack and defence.

In a match that bore similarities to their past 10 unsuccessful attempts to beat either Chelsea or Manchester United, Arsenal controlled possession for significant periods, but succumbed at the critical moments.

Wenger expressed his surprise at how "easy" at had been for his team to dominate and claimed they should have had the match won within a minute. "The game should have been over before we started it," he said. "We had the first two chances in the first minute.

"I don't know how we managed to miss a header from six yards. You have to be more clinical to win championships. You cannot win championships like that."

The aggregate score between Chelsea and Arsenal over the past 18 months is 13-2 in favour of the Premier League champions, but Wenger believes his team were dominant yesterday afternoon and can still overcome a seven-point deficit.

"Chelsea finished with cramps and were on the ground because they had to run a lot," Wenger said. "I believe Chelsea suffered a lot. They were on the ropes for long periods. We dominated this game, quite surprisingly in my opinion.

"Surprisingly easy, but we go home with zero points. Chelsea are a candidate to win the title, but it is not a decisive position."

Ray Wilkins, the Chelsea assistant manager, accepted that the performance lacked a certain aesthetic appeal, but stressed how efficient the team had been.

"Beating them is always a delight," he said. "It's not always pretty to look at, but it was effective. We didn't play the type of football we wanted to.

"Sometimes you have to fight and scrap and I think we have that quality and when we do get into the final third we do have the quality to finish teams off."

Despite Chelsea's recent superiority, Wilkins still named Arsenal, as well as Manchester United, as their main rivals to win the league.

"Arsenal are one of the teams that scare me in that they can take the ball off us and not give it back," he said.

"Against Manchester City, we didn't match them with any determination any guts or any fire and that hurt us. City, as fabulous a group of footballers as they have, have got to gel as a unit. Three points is what we fight for and we are delighted to have got them."

Drogba's record against Arsenal was labelled as "phenomenal" by Wilkins, who also reserved some praise for Alex's astonishing free-kick.

And Wilkins also conveyed the appreciation of Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti for all the messages of condolence following the death of his father, including a text from Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

Ancelotti took charge of yesterday's victory, despite being in Italy on Saturday for the funeral.(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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