Wenger admits experience of Sol and Almunia is key to title chances

22 March 2010 01:13
Campbell: Has impressed since returning to Arsenal[LNB]Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels the experience of veterans Sol Campbell and Manuel Almunia will be crucial to his young side's hopes of success.[LNB]The Gunners kept up the pressure on their rivals for the Premier League title with a 2-0 home win over struggling West Ham, having played the second half with only 10 men after the sending-off of Thomas Vermaelen.[LNB]The Belgian defender will now miss the trip to Birmingham after being shown a straight red by referee Martin Atkinson for what the West Yorkshire official deemed denying a goalscoring opportunity when tussling with Guillermo Franco as they chased a long ball into the Arsenal box.[LNB]Goalkeeper Almunia, 32, produced a stunning save from Alessandro Diamanti's resulting penalty to prevent what would have been an equaliser, and that changed the balance of the match.[LNB]With William Gallas still hampered by a calf problem which has sidelined him for the past seven matches, Wenger admits he has little option but to call on both Campbell, the 35-year-old former skipper who rejoined Arsenal in January, and fellow veteran Mikael Silvestre, 32, to once again step into the breach.[LNB]The Arsenal manager, though, has every faith the senior men in what is a young squad can deliver.[LNB]'I hope missing Vermaelen at Birmingham won't be a problem - but we cannot continue to lose centre-backs, that is for sure,' Wenger said.[LNB]'You also cannot have six centre-backs at a football club because that doesn't make sense.[LNB]'Sol Campbell was outstanding, but to repeat the games could become a problem for him so I think I have to give him a big holiday next week to recover.[LNB]'He is very important to us and I think it was a very good signing.[LNB]'Everybody said I didn't sign anybody and now you can see that I signed somebody.[LNB] On the spot: Manuel Almunia saves Alessandro Diamanti's penalty on Saturday[LNB]'His experience is vital in the dressing room, and you need it especially whenwe get to the period we are in.[LNB]'It is important you have players like Silvestre, Sol Campbell and Almunia, who are very influential. They have done it before so players listen to them.'[LNB]Arsenal had taken an early lead through Denilson, and regrouped for the second half when midfielder Alex Song dropped back into the centre of defence alongside Campbell.[LNB]'Song was absolutely outstanding. It looked so easy for him to play in this position,' Wenger declared.[LNB]'I know he can play there, but he was outstanding in midfield earlier in the game. I have no fear to continue with him at centre-back if needed.'[LNB]There is now little to chose between the top three. Arsenal would appear to have the easier run-in, as United and Chelsea meet at Old Trafford over Easter, but Wenger maintains there is no margin for error in their remaining seven matches.[LNB]'It will be exciting now until the end, we have three teams in the fight, so let's see,' he said.[LNB]'There is no room for error - the only target is to win the next game and give absolutely everything. That is what we will go for.'[LNB] 'We've got what it takes to claim title,' lauds Wenger as Arsenal go topArsenal 2 West Ham 0: Gunners have the look of champions as they move into top gearARSENAL FC

Source: Daily_Mail