By Richard Clarke
Arsenal’s success this season will be all down to attitude, according to Arsène Wenger.
The Frenchman guided his side to a crucial comeback win at Chelsea on Sunday. It was their second victory over a fellow member of the so-called Big Four and came in stark contrast to the five defeats they have suffered early in the campaign.
Those losses – to Fulham, Hull, Stoke, Aston Villa and Manchester City – have left Arsenal playing catch-up in the title race. Indeed they may have been out of it had they been defeated at Stamford Bridge.
Now Wenger believes his side must apply their big-game attitude week in week out if they are to maintain their title challenge.
“We have beaten Manchester United and Chelsea,” said the manager. “We know we can beat everybody now and we know we have to keep that focus in every game.
“We have to get in the same state of mind against the so-called lesser teams who are as good [as anyone] now. We know that if we take our foot a little bit off the pedal we can lose everywhere.”
In fairness, Arsenal’s win at Stamford Bridge had a whiff of controversy. The visitors trailed when Johan Djourou put through his own net on the half-hour and they looked like they might struggle until Robin van Persie bagged a brace on 60 and 62 minutes. The Dutchman’s first was crucial and replays confirmed that the forward had been offside in the build-up.
“I am sorry [about that],” said Wenger. “We don’t want to score offside goals.”
The manager was asked if he would have been annoyed had the decision been given against his side.
“Yes of course I would but we have not to make the decision on the bench,” he said. “We have to live with it and overall the referee had a very good game.
“The key for us was to keep going in the second half, stay strong and last longer than they did in the game. We started to win the fights in the middle of the park and from then we always looked dangerous.”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 1 Dec 2008