Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has refused to criticize Chelsea’s defensive approach at the Emirates Stadium in yesterday’s goalless draw between the two London rivals and instead suggested that the Blues are only playing to their strengths.
Wenger has been noted as a vocal critic of teams who deploy many players behind the ball against the Gunners and Chelsea’s defensive strategy was expected to draw a similar reaction out of the Frenchman.
However, suggesting that Chelsea’s great counter-attacking strength only warrants the use of such a mindset away from home, Wenger actually argued that the match was played with the right competitive spirit.
“I can understand that because Kalou is quick, they have Sturridge who can score on the counter-attack, they have Torres who is quick – they have three quick players up front,” Wenger told Arsenal.com.
Explaining how Chelsea’s approach shaped his tactics, he added: “I expected that a little bit and that’s why I decided to play Gibbs because Gibbs is quite quick against Kalou or Sturridge. Overall, defensively we were solid (too).”
Sharing the spoils meant that the Gunners dropped two big points, but it also meant that Chelsea could not cover any additional ground on their seven-point deficit to the Gunners.
Tottenham’s 1-0 loss at QPR further eased concerns at Arsenal but Newcastle’s emphatic 3-0 destruction of Stoke brought the Magpies within three points of Wenger’s men with a game in hand.
While Wenger admits that earning only one out of their last six points can end up costing Arsenal, he is in no mood to deliver any verdicts just yet.
“We will see at the end of the season [whether Saturday was a missed opportunity]. We are still in the driving seat, no matter what happens. It will depend on the results we make now. At least two of the next three (matches) we need to win,” he concluded.