By Matt Fortune
Arsène Wenger has admitted he takes full responsibility for the draw that saw Arsenal lose ground in the title race on Saturday.
Birmingham became only the second team to leave Emirates Stadium with a share of the spoils in the Premier League this season, and the Frenchman revealed he shoulders the blame for what he called 'the poorest game we have played'.
"I take full responsibility. The crowd were good, we were bad and I include myself in that," said Wenger. "You can never afford to be poor because that's not your ambition. We tried but we lacked creativity, incisiveness and sharpness. It can happen.
"I feel that it's easy to find a rational explanation for days like this but it's not always the right ones. It's one of the mysteries of football that some players haven't played for 10 days and yet they weren't sharp today."
The Arsenal manager's frustration was palpable as he watched on from the touchline. He explained why after the match.
"We were caught in the feeling, during the game, that it would be easy and that's a good lesson for us. The goalkeeper has probably never had so little to do but still we have dropped two points.
"We lost a ball we shouldn't have lost and from the corner we weren't sharp enough. Then, after that, we lacked quality in the final third and that was a collective problem.
"I don't think this will affect the mentality of the players. There are always one or two performances during a season when you are not at your best but the mistake we made today was from a set-piece and that was disappointing."
The last time Arsenal slipped behind Manchester United in the title race, the Gunners responded by crashing four past Everton. Wenger believes that the team needs a similar riposte against Fulham next weekend.
"We have to pick up as many points as possible, and that's why we are disappointed because we have dropped two big points. That is not the reality because in 22 games this season we have played well in 21 of them. Now we want to come back to what we really are."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 14 Jan 2008