Arsenal slump continues at Spurs
LONDON - Just seven games into the Premier League season, Arsene Wenger all but conceded an Arsenal title challenge after a 2-1 defeat at north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
A fourth defeat was compounded by a serious looking injury to right back Bacary Sagna and Wenger was in a gloomy mood when asked about Arsenal’s chances of competing at the top.
“At the moment we have to set ourselves a realistic target to get in touch with those teams who are fighting to stay in the Champions League,” Wenger told reporters.
“To say we will win the league is not realistic. We are 12 points behind Manchester United and Manchester City so it is not realistic today to say that we will win the league.
“We have to fight to come back into a much better position.”
Since Wenger took charge of Arsenal in 1996 they have never finished outside the top four and are virtual fixtures in the Champions League. But their worst start to a season under the Frenchman has now put their place among the elite in jeopardy.
Wenger was even asked whether he thought Arsenal, only two points above the bottom three, were in danger of a relegation battle.
“No,” was his emphatic reply, although with Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri gone and Jack Wilshere ruled out until after Christmas with an ankle injury, these are clearly worrying times at The Emirates.
The mood was not improved by the sight of Sagna leaving the ground on crutches with his leg in a brace after an awkward fall under a challenge from Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
“We are very worried about his injury. He is in hospital at the moment and it is too early to say but the first signs do not look good at all. It is the fibula in the ankle that has to be checked, that is what I have been told. We will know tonight,” Wenger said.
Wenger saw some encouraging signs against Tottenham, who won a fourth consecutive league match with goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Kyle Walker either side of Aaron Ramsey’s equalizer, but said confidence was clearly low.
“In the first half I felt we played a little but with the handbrake on,” Wenger said. “Even playing like that we had four chances. At halftime we came out and had a go at them and got it back to 1-1.
“I felt again that we didn’t push on enough and let them get back into the game. We lack a little bit of confidence at the moment, and we just need to protect a result when we have one.”
Wenger was rattled by questions over his failure to shake hands with Clive Allen, one of Tottenham’s coaching staff, and felt Van der Vaart’s opening goal should not have been allowed, insisting the Dutchman could even have been shown a second yellow card for deliberate handball.
“It is frustrating as well because their first goal was handball,” Wenger said. “I wonder what the linesmen do in these situations. It is a second yellow card as well because he already had one - for handball, on purpose.”
Tottenham have gone from strength to strength since losing their opening two league games to Manchester United and Manchester City.
“They [Arsenal] got off to a better start in the second half, got the goal, and watching the game you would have thought, ‘they are in the ascendency. We could be in trouble’,” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said.
한글 관련 기사 [뉴시스]
박주영, 또 결장…아스날은 토트넘에 1-2 패
축구대표팀 캡틴이자 주전 공격수 박주영(26)의 체면이 말이 아니다. 또 쉬었다.
박주영은 2일 자정(한국시간) 영국 런던 화이트하트레인 스타디움에서 열린 토트넘 핫스퍼와의 2011~2012 잉글랜드 프리미어리그(EPL) 7라운드에서 교체 명단에 이름을 올렸지만 그라운드를 밟지 못했다.
시오 월컷(22) 등 주전들이 부상과 컨디션 난조로 출전이 기대됐지만 여전히 팀 내에서 자리를 잡지 못한 모습이다.
박주영은 지난달 10일 스완지시티와의 4라운드를 앞두고 극적으로 워크퍼밋(취업비자)을 발급받아 교체명단에 처음으로 이름을 올렸지만 이후 단 한 번도 리그 경기에 출전하지 못했다.
슈루즈버리 타운과의 칼링컵 32라운드 출전이 아스날 입단 이후 유일하게 그라운드를 밟은 것.
실전 감각이 떨어져 조광래호에서 역할을 성공적으로 수행할 수 있을지 우려되는 시점이다. 박주영은 4일 파주국가대표트레이닝센터(NFC)에서 대표팀에 합류할 예정이다.
`북런던 더비`로 관심을 모은 이날 경기에서 아스날은 1-2로 토트넘에 져 6라운드 볼턴전 승리의 상승세를 이어가는데 실패했다.
토트넘이 먼저 포문을 열었다. 아데바요르가 전반 40분 정확한 패스로 판 더 바르트의 선제골을 도왔다.
전반을 0-1로 뒤진 아스날도 쉽게 물러나지 않았다. 후반 시작 6분 만에 아론 램지가 승부를 원점으로 돌렸다. 왼쪽에서 송이 찔러준 크로스를 쇄도하던 램지가 골로 연결했다.
동점을 만들면서 아스날의 흐름으로 가는 듯 했지만 오래 가지 못했다. 토트넘은 후반 28분 워커가 중거리 슛을 때려 아스날의 골망을 흔들었다.
아스날은 2승1무4패(승점 7)로 중위권 도약에 실패했다. 반면 토트넘은 리그 4연승을 달리면서 4승2패(승점 12)로 상위권 경쟁을 시작했다.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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