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Gunners shoot themselves in the foot with own-goal draw

By Agence France-Presse in London | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-27 08:35

Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal has probably blown its chance of winning the Premier League title after a frustrating 2-2 draw against Swansea City at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

Wenger's squad is six points behind leader Chelsea with only seven games left following the latest setback to its spluttering challenge.

The Gunners were looking to rebound from Saturday's humiliating 6-0 loss at Chelsea as two goals in 60 seconds midway through the second half from Lukas Podolski and then Olivier Giroud erased Wilfried Bony's opener.

But Arsenal still managed to self destruct in familiar fashion as Mathieu Flamini's own-goal in the 90th minute earned a point for Swansea, which could even have stolen all three if referee Lee Probert hadn't blown for full-time with Jonathan de Guzman set to shoot.

Just weeks after they sat proudly on top of the table, the Gunners are in danger of not even finishing in the top four - and Wenger conceded they are now unlikely to win the title.

"At the moment that is not the biggest worry we have," Wenger said when asked about Arsenal's title prospects.

"We have to be realistic a little bit and look behind us as well as in front of us.

"The result on Saturday has affected us a lot because it was a big disappointment. This result hurts us a lot as well.

"It is very disappointing but we have to take it on the chin. After getting to 2-1 we were too conservative.

"Our confidence level had been affected and we just wanted to close out the game rather than score again."

To make matters worse for Wenger, Arsenal's next opponent on Saturday is rampant Manchester City, which heads to north London boosted by a 3-0 win at Manchester United on Tuesday.

Wenger feels City is poised to become champion and made little attempt to talk up Arsenal's hopes when asked who he thought would win the title.

"It will be open until the end, but Manchester City looks a bit unstoppable," Wenger said.

"They have two games in hand so they and Chelsea are favorites for the title.

"It is another big game for us on Saturday. We will focus on that and accept where we finish.

"We have to get some players back from injury but none of them are close at the moment.

"(Laurent) Koscielny is out for a while, (Aaron) Ramsey might be back in a couple of weeks. With (Jack) Wilshere we have had to slow down a little bit."

Swansea's players surrounded Probert to protest when he denied de Guzman the chance to score the winner and it could prove a costly decision for the south Wales club, which is only five points above the relegation zone.

"It was a very poor decision. We were clean through on goal," boss Garry Monk said.

"They told us it was going to be four minutes at the end of the game but we scored in that period so when they restart the clock it should have been a minimum of five minutes.

"I spoke to the referee and told him it was a poor decision. But I didn't get anything back from him.

"I can't predict if he is going to score, but he is definitely going to get a shot on goal.

"In all the games I have played I have never had it that the referee blows the whistle when you are through on goal."

Wenger disagreed with Monk's view of the incident and said: "For me it would not have been a goal - Thomas Vermaelen would have got the ball. The ball went wide and Vermaelen was coming back."


Gunners shoot themselves in the foot with own-goal draw

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) rubs his face next to assistant manager, Steve Bould, after watching the team surrender an own goal in the final minute of Tuesday's 2-2 draw with Swansea City at Emirates Stadium in London. Matt Dunham / Associated Press


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