By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger believes that Arsenal’s title chances may have suffered irreparable damage had they lost another game at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

When Leon Osman put Everton ahead in the ninth minute there were real fears that lightning would strike twice in North London. The home fans had seen Hull pull off a sensational 2-1 win in the last Premier League fixture at the ground three weeks earlier.

At the weekend, Arsenal trailed at the break but stormed back through goals from Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott. It left Wenger a relieved man.

“We want to stay in the race for the title,” he said.  “But we had lost against Hull in our last game here and you cannot drop points at home straight away after that.

“We have to stay as close as we can to the top. If we had lost here we would have been seven points behind the leaders. That’s too many.

“You don’t want your team to lose confidence and, after the shock against Hull, not to win on Saturday would have been difficult for the confidence for the team.

“It would not have been all over, no. But you give yourself a big mountain to climb if you are seven points behind Chelsea.”

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20 Oct 2008