Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: This team has the ability to challenge for next season’s Premier League title
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted he was left frustrated after his side’s 3-1 defeat against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday evening but insists the team has the ability to challenge for the Premier League next season.
Arsene Wenger’s side suffered an awful start after falling a goal behind to Kelechi Iheanacho on 14 minutes before having young defender Tinos Mavropanos sent off for hauling down the goalscorer a minute later to be sent-off.
The visitors regrouped and equalised through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang eight minutes after the break.
However, with 16 minutes remaining substitute Demarai Gray was adjudged to have been clipped by Henrikh Mkitaryan as a penalty was awarded.
The hard-working Jamie Vardy stepped up to fire home emphatically to make it 2-1 before Riyhad Mahrez made it 3-1 with minutes remaining.
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Speaking after the match Wenger said: “It’s a frustration. I believed we played a great game. There was quality in our game and spirit.
“It’s very sad because the decision went against us. In the end we are upset because we lost a game we should not have lost.
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“It does not have big consequences but it is in the continuity of this season.
“Leicester played with 11 v 10 for 75 minutes but I must say if you have to attack [in that scenario] and you lose the ball your opponent will counter-attack.”
The Frenchman, who will be in charge for the final time on Sunday against Huddersfield Town was angry at referee Graham Scott sending off Mavropanos in the opening quarter of an hour.
He said: “I disagree with the red card. Because [Mavropanos] was not the last man and [Rob] Holding would have cleared the ball.”
When asked his views on the penalty award after the coming together of Mkhitaryan and Gray Wenger fumed: “It’s a very creative, imaginative aspect from the referee. “It’s a nice dive but it’s not a penalty. [Mkhitaryan] plays the ball.”
The defeat meant that Wenger’s Arsenal side have yet to register a single point on their travels in 2018.
However Wenger was adamant there is enough quality in his side for them to challenge for the title next season.
He added: “I feel that our team has championship winning form at home but away from home there is a lack of confidence because of a few bad results.
“And afterwards we neglected [matches] because of the Europa League. But the quality is there.
“If the team has one or two good away results [early on] next season the team will challenge for the title.
“I am convinced this team is special and will be one of the contenders next year.”