Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has conceded that fatigue may have drained his team out of energy over the course of the shock 2-1 defeat to Wigan last night but insists that there is no excuse for the lack of creativity in the decisive second half.
Thomas Vermaelen’s impressive 20th minute header cut the Latics’ early two-goal lead into half but the Gunners could not find an equalizer, despite finishing the match with a plethora of attacking options in the second half.
Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain even offered fresh legs off the bench, only to find tough resistance from the visitors, who have also defeated Liverpool and Manchester United in recent weeks.
Despite all the potential excuses for falling short, including the injury to influential playmaker Mikel Arteta, Wenger chose to point the blame at the missing creativity from the Arsenal players who were out there to get the job done on the pitch.
“I felt in the first half we had enough chances to come back to 2-2, but the second half we dropped our level, lost our team play, our cohesion and tried too much individually. There was not enough petrol left in the tank anymore,” the manager asserted in his post-match interview at Arsenal.com.
He added: “We didn’t see anyone who could make a difference. They defended well. We had a tremendous amount of possession but didn’t create a lot in the second half.
“We have given a lot over the past two or three months and we were not sharp. Is it mental or physical? It is hard to know why. I felt in the first half we had quite a good response to being 2-0 down, but in the second half there was not a lot to come.
“We finished with Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Gervinho and Van Persie offensively and we didn’t create a lot.”
The Gunners’ advantage in the race for a third-place finish has been reduced significantly after their most recent setback and they will aim for quick recovery when London rivals Chelsea arrive at the Emirates for Saturday’s early kick-off.