Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We are Not Bullied Anymore!

Arsene Wenger believes Monday night's long-overdue victory against Chelsea could prove to be a "pivotal moment" in Arsenal's challenge for the Premier League title.

The Gunners had lost each of their previous five matches against Chelsea, stretching back to November 2008, and were beaten 1-0 at Manchester United in their last league match.

However, the poor run of form against their fellow championship contenders came to an end at Emirates Stadium as Wenger's side beat the Blues 3-1 and heaped more pressure on Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who is without a win in six games.

Arsenal moved back up into second place, behind Premier League leaders United by two points, having now played a match more ahead of the midweek fixtures which see the Gunners travel to Wigan on Wednesday.

"It was a double impact,'' Wenger said of the victory. "Mathematically, it keeps us in touch with the leaders of the league, and psychologically, it was important because we were questioned about our capability of winning big games.

"I am happy with the desire in the team. We kept good discipline in the team for 90 minutes and put in a real team performance.

"It can be a very pivotal moment, but we have to respond away at Wigan on Wednesday night in a game where we want to turn up and take points. We know to beat the big teams at home will have an important impact on this league.''

The Arsenal manager declared: "We are not bullied any more. That is for sure.

"Two years ago with the same players we were maybe battered by Chelsea. Last year we felt we were getting closer. This year, at United and Chelsea, we were more frustrated because we were more in the game and there was no real difference.

"It was a slow learning process that we got out of our system.''

Arsenal head to Birmingham on New Year's Day, and then host Manchester City, who are level on points but played a game more, ahead of their FA Cup third-round tie with Leeds and a Carling Cup semi-final against Ipswich. United come to Emirates at the end of April.

"We have to be at our best and continue to improve,'' Wenger observed. "I hope the victory [over Chelsea] will convince the team that we are moving in the right direction and we continue to improve.''

Wenger added: "However, this league is very difficult to predict - every game is difficult for everybody. We have to show we have got that out of our system and show we can be consistent.''

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