Search

Arsenal boss accepts his side are unlikely to catch Dortmund after Anderlecht setback

PUBLISHED: 23:16 04 November 2014 | UPDATED: 07:25 05 November 2014

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks unimpressed by his side's defensive display against Anderlecht

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks unimpressed by his side's defensive display against Anderlecht

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Arsene Wenger has acknowledged that his side’s hopes of topping the Champions League group are all but extinguished following their 3-3 draw with Anderlecht.

Arsenal led the Belgian champions 3-0 with half an hour remaining at the Emirates on Tuesday, but had to settle for a point after conceding three goals, including a last-minute equaliser.

That leaves the Gunners five points behind Group D leaders Borussia Dortmund, who will be their next European opponents at the end of this month.

But Wenger admits they have little hope of catching their German rivals and will have to concentrate on securing the point they still need to seal qualification for the knockout stage.

“Maybe [before] there was still a good chance for winning the group,” said the Frenchman. “Now that’s almost impossible.

“You have to give Anderlecht credit – they were fighting until the end. We had a poor defensive performance from the first to the last minute and we got punished.

“Defensively across the pitch we were very poor. I think we dropped off too much and didn’t go into the challenges, we didn’t stop the crosses and in the second half it was bad defending more than being outnumbered.

“Maybe we underestimated Anderlecht subconsciously. After 60 minutes, at 3-0 up, you can think the game’s won – but it’s the Champions League and you have to be at the right level mentally.”

Captain Mikel Arteta put the Gunners in front with a questionable penalty midway through the first half, after the referee ruled that Danny Welbeck had been fouled by Chancel Mbemba.

Alexis Sanchez volleyed the second goal five minutes later and Arsenal seemed to be cruising towards a guaranteed top-two place when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it 3-0 early in the second half.

But Anthony Vanden Borre escaped an offside flag to pull a goal back just before Arteta limped off with a hamstring injury, and then made it 3-2 with the second dubious penalty of the night when Andy Najar went down under Nacho Monreal’s challenge.

And, with the Gunners defence growing ever more nervous, Anderlecht snatched a point in the last minute when substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic headed in Najar’s cross.

Wenger added: “When we lost Arteta we lost big – he was one of the few defending well and that didn’t help. I don’t know how long he will be out for.

“The first goal was offside clearly, but defensively our performance was not good enough. It’s very disappointing but overall in the two games [against Anderlecht] we got four points.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Sports News

17:30

More title heartache for super-middleweight

Raphael Veras took a squad of four to Las Vegas and they didn’t disappoint

14:54

Smith and Broadhurst edged out in semi-finals

09:36

SKL celebrate four years since being founded by sensei Antonio Telmo

Yesterday, 19:23

Bad light helps visitors avoid defeat at Lord’s

A delighted Arsene Wenger heaped praise on his Arsenal players for showing huge amounts of grit and determination at Wembley as they gave a battling performance to overcome Manchester City to reach the FA Cup Final.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Arsenal won through to the 2017 FA Cup Final in the merry month of May by valiantly triumphing over the might of Manchester City 2-1 after extra time on a dramatic semi-final afternoon at Wembley today.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Defending champions declaration leaves rivals to chase 452 at Lord’s

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now