By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger admits that depleted resources in attack may have deprived Arsenal of vital Premier League points on Saturday.
The Frenchman fielded an offensive formation against Sunderland with Nicklas Bendtner and Robin van Persie up front while Samir Nasri and new signing Andrey Arshavin patrolled the flanks. However, the Russian's lack of match fitness and injuries to Eduardo, Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott, in addition to the absence of the creative influence of Cesc Fabregas and Abou Diaby gave Wenger few options as his team chased a late winner at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal's manager brought on Carlos Vela for the tiring Arshavin and sacrificed a defensive midfielder - Alex Song - in an attempt to unlock the Sunderland defence but to no avail. Afterwards, Wenger insisted that his players deserved more than a frustrating 0-0 draw.
"It was difficult because we had no strikers on the bench," he said.
"Arshavin was dead after 60 minutes and we only had Vela on the bench. We took Song off and switched Nasri and we finished with Van Persie, Vela, Bendtner and Eboue in a purely offensive role.
"We still didn't score and I couldn't see there was much more of a gamble to take.
"I'm frustrated that the guys don't get rewarded because this team really wants to do well. I can't fault the spirit and I believe we have to keep that as a strength and the rest will come."Copyright 2014 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 23 Feb 2009