Mind the Gap – Wenger admits Arsenal were lucky not to lose by more in comprehensive 2-0 derby-day defeat to Spurs
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has conceded a ‘gap’ now exists between Spurs and Arsenal after his side’s comprehensive 2-0 defeat today at White Hart Lane.
Wenger’s team were outplayed at a raucous White Hart Lane in the last-ever North London derby in the ground’s current guise.
Despite being bullish before the game he admitted his team had been ‘lucky’ to keep the scoreline respectable.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech was largely responsible for keeping the score to a brace of goals after he acrobatically belied his years by making a number of top quality saves throughout the game.
However, he was beaten in the 54th minute after a Christian Eriksen shot that he parried fell into the path of the outstanding Dele Alli who slotted home from close range.
The cheers had hardly died down from the home support in a raucous atmosphere when Harry Kane was felled in the box by Gabriel. The England forward then picked himself up and calmly fired the ball low to Cech’s right, who remained rooted to the spot.
Speaking afterwards a downcast Wenger said: “It was tight game until they scored their first goal then we conceded straight away a soft penalty.
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“2-0 was a shock against Spurs. It took us time to recover from that. In the end they created chances from then on.
“We were lucky to keep it to 2-0.
“In the last 15 minutes we dominated the game but without being capable to create clear cut chances, or to take any chances we created.
“Overall you have to come to the conclusion that Spurs deserved to win the game.
“I felt that there was plenty of room in the first half to score goals but we played with a restricted attitude and I felt that we lacked a little bit of freedom to play and a desire to hurt them more than we did.
“The chances we had in the first half were clear cut chances but we didn’t take them well – not with enough with conviction and not with enough determination.”
The win ensured Spurs are certain to finish above Arsenal, with today’s triumph leaving them 17 points clear.
Wenger was asked if he felt the gap reflected the difference in the two teams. He said: “Look the points are points.
“You cannot say they come from heaven, they come from the pitch. And that’s it.”
Wenger conceded it will be ‘very difficult’ to finish in the top four after today’s result. But with Manchester United visiting the Emirates next Sunday there is still an outside chance.
Wenger added: “We have a cup final. We still have a chance to get in the top four. We have to recover from today and prepare for our next games.”
However when pressed he conceded: “Look, the gap [between the Arsenal and Spurs] is there.”