Arsene Wenger praises Arsenal’s resolve despite being victim to another controversial refereeing decision


Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal can close the gap on the top four even though the Gunners could only draw to Chelsea in an entertaining clash at the Emirates.

Jack Wilshere’s fierce strike opened the scoring on 63 minutes before Eden Hazard’s penalty brought Chelsea on level terms after Hector Bellerin was harshly penalised for kicking the Belgian.

The visitors then turned the game on its head when Davide Zappacosta’s cross found Marcos Alonso to tap in from close range.

However, Hector Bellerin’s curling strike in stoppage-time ensured both sides would share the spoils in one of the most exciting Premier League games of the 2017/18 season so far.

Both sides left the game disappointed to not take all three points and the draw has left the Gunners five points adrift of a spot in the top four.

However, Wenger was reasonably optimistic for the season ahead when asked by talkSPORT’s Ian Abrahams about Arsenal’s top four credentials after the game.

Wenger said: “Yes, of course [we can close the gap on the top four]. The number of points is not the problem. The problem is that we are not making enough points in relation to the quality of our performances and we have been really unlucky with some decisions.”

Despite the optimism, Wenger left the game feeling aggrieved at some of the decision-making of referee Anthony Taylor.

Arsenal were also victims of a controversial penalty decision which denied them a win against West Brom on Sunday and Wenger lamented his side’s luck.

He added: “For me, no [it was not a fair result], because it was an unfair penalty.

“I think we have been unlucky again because that is what we have to take in every game; penalty decisions that are not entirely obvious.

“Us not getting the rub of the green is the minimum you could say but we have to deal with it.

“You could give ten penalties per game like that [for the Hazard foul].

“I am a little bit upset and disgusted but on the other hand the remarkable strength and quality in my team is fantastic and when you come to Arsenal you see football.

“We have character and quality and certainly defensive frailties that we have to correct but overall, yes, we have top quality.

The two sides meet again in the EFL Cup semi-finals next week and Wenger said that tonight’s game was promising for the upcoming tie.

Wenger added: “Overall, I must say it was a remarkable football game with both teams giving everything so it promises a lot for the semi-finals of the EFL Cup.”  

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