Gunners were outstanding - Wenger

21 March 2010 10:25
The Gunners overcame the sending-off of defender Thomas Vermaelen to defeat the Hammers and battle back to the top of the Premier League.[LNB]Brazilian midfielder Denilson fired the hosts in front after only five minutes as they looked to leapfrog Manchester United and Chelsea, who do not play until Sunday.[LNB]However, Vermaelen was deemed to have been the last man when he pulled down Guillermo Franco, and was shown a straight red card by referee Martin Atkinson.[LNB]Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, however, saved Alessandro Diamanti's penalty and captain Cesc Fabregas - back from a injury lay-off - made it 2-0 with nine minutes left from the same spot following a handball by Matthew Upson.[LNB]"I believe we had an outstanding game," Wenger declared.[LNB]"We played with class and spirit and we kept our nerve when the situation became difficult, so overall we have shown a good attitude, good maturity, and in the important moments in any department we were decisive.[LNB]"Everybody adapted very well to the situation and technically I believe we were outstanding today."[LNB]Wenger was left fuming by Atkinson's decision at the time, which rules Vermaelen out of the next game at Birmingham - leaving Arsenal short at centre-back.[LNB]"I felt it was very harsh," he said.[LNB]"We have seen this situation so many times in the game without it being punished at all."[LNB]The Gunners could, of course, be back down to third should both United and Chelsea, but after another brave display, Wenger's youngsters remain very much in the hunt for a first title since the Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004.[LNB]Wenger said: "We are not under any special pressure because we are beyond expectation.[LNB]"We want to win the trophy because we are all conscious we have won nothing yet - the hunger is there, the talent is there and I think the nerves are there.[LNB]"All we can do is rely on the other results of the other teams, so the only thing we can do is master our own results.[LNB]"We have a good chance to do it this year. It will be exciting, tight and the response we gave today in the second half was very important in future games."[LNB]West Ham, meanwhile, remain deep in trouble.[LNB]Results elsewhere mean the Irons are just three points clear of the relegation zone in 17th place.[LNB]Manager Gianfranco Zola felt his side had paid the price for overcomplicating matters .[LNB]"I am disappointed, especially after the first half when I thought that we were playing the best game of the season," he said.[LNB]"The key was to keep the discipline because you have the extra man and I told them to keep it simple, to move the ball around until we have two versus one.[LNB]"We did it for the first five minutes of the second half, but then lost it. We wanted to sort the game out as individuals. You can't think like that.[LNB]"With Arsenal, you can expect it will be difficult, even if they are one man down.[LNB]"Scoring the penalty would have been a big help because Arsenal would have played different football.[LNB]"But they just sat back and played the counter-attack. We just did not use the extra man."[LNB]West Ham have also lost to Manchester United and Chelsea in recent weeks.[LNB]"Today was a very mature performance from Arsenal," said Zola.[LNB]"It is certainly a team who are going to be in contention until the end."[LNB]Wolves, a point ahead of the Hammers, come to Upton Park on Tuesday night, before they host Stoke.[LNB]Zola said: "Our next two games will tell us a lot, especially the next one when we are playing against a team who are more or less in the same position as us. It will be massive.[LNB]"The players did not look like they had lost confidence, they were playing against one of the best teams in Europe and played some good football.[LNB]"We will go into the Wolves game in good shape."[LNB][LNB]

Source: Team_Talk