By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger admits that Arsenal failed to cope with the fall-out from their trip to Birmingham two years ago - but he is convinced that the class of 2010 would have handled it better.
Arsenal were setting the pace in the title race in 2007/08 when they arrived at St. Andrew’s on February 23. They lost Eduardo to an horrific injury in the first three minutes and then lost two points to a stoppage-time penalty against ten-man Birmingham. As the final whistle blew, captain William Gallas sat alone on the pitch in disgust and disbelief. Arsenal’s title challenge stuttered and eventually petered out in the weeks that followed.
Unlike many, Wenger does not believe that game was decisive in the title race but he thinks that his current squad has coped better with similar adversity - citing the 3-1 win at Stoke last month after Aaron Ramsey was stretchered off with a double leg fracture.
“We did not deal well with that particular incident on the day [at Birmingham], with the situation we faced,” reflected Wenger.
“Since then exactly the same happened at Stoke, and we responded in a very strong manner.
“But I do not think on that particular day [in 2008] we lost the championship,” he added. “There were much more heavier ingredients, like some players not completely focused. We had players who were at the end of contracts.
“We did not lose the championship at Birmingham.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 25 Mar 2010