Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2: Gunners can still catch Spurs – Wenger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger claims his side can still finish above Tottenham after Sunday's stunning fightback at The Emirates
Arsene Wenger watched Arsenal stage a remarkable comeback to beat Tottenham Hotspur – and then declared his side can finish above their north London rivals.
Spurs had raced into a 2-0 lead courtesy of Louis Saha’s opener after just four minutes and former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor’s penalty after Gareth Bale was adjudged to have been fouled by Wojciech Szczesny.
But Bacary Sagna headed home Mikel Arteta’s cross after 40 minutes before Robin van Persie fired in a brilliant left-footed strike to pull the home side level just before the interval.
Tomas Rosicky’s deft finish shortly after the break gave Wenger’s men the lead and two quick-fire strikes from Theo Walcott capped a stunning comeback by the Gunners.
“[Finishing above Tottenham] is still possible,” said Wenger, whose side moved back into fourth and closed the gap to third-placed Spurs to seven points.
“I felt even before the game that it was possible if we keep our consistency. Everyone in the Premier League can lose points. They have a difficult schedule, and we have a difficult schedule, but if we continue to play like that, why not?”
Wenger also reserved special praise for Walcott, who did well to put a quiet first-half performance behind him with a well-taken brace after the break.
“The crowd was starting to get on his back and you wonder if [it won’t] do him a favour by leaving him on,” he continued. “But I felt that he has the qualities that, considering the rest of the team, are highly needed.
“He is a player who can be straight and go behind the defenders – nobody else is like that. He is a very direct player, he can sometimes miss a first touch but considering the balance of the team I thought it was important to keep him in the side.”
And Wenger was thrilled with the manner of his side’s dramatic fightback following a run of disappointing results in the cup competitions.
“Today we gave a performance that on the spirit side, the technical side, the drive of the whole team, on the style of the game we want to play everything was perfect despite a very bad start. I felt in the first five minutes Tottenham started well, after that it was all us for 85 minutes.”
Meanwhile, Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was left puzzled by the defeat after his side squandered what appeared to be such a commanding position early on.
“Even at 2-0 I couldn’t say I felt over-comfortable,” he said. “I wanted to get to half-time [at 2-0] but I felt they were creating chances and we looked a bit open really. It was a difficult one. I felt at half-time I needed to try to thicken us up a little bit.
“That should have happened, but didn’t. We didn’t defend well. It was basic, really.”
He added: “We don’t get beaten like that too often. It is a difficult one to put your finger on really. Whether the occasion got to one or two of them [I don’t know], but we never really got hold of the ball.”