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Wenger: We're getting back to best
Published : 07 Nov 2012 06:18:00
Arsene Wenger was frustrated to see Arsenal surrender a two-goal lead in Germany but believes their Champions League display in a draw at Schalke shows they are beginning to get back to their best.
The north Londoners have struggled for form in recent weeks and suffered a surprise 2-0 loss to the Bundesliga side when the teams met a fortnight ago. While frustrated to miss out on the full three Group B points, Wenger was pleased by his side's response to the disappointing defeat at Manchester United.
Wenger said: "I believe we have shown a good response to Saturday's game and you feel the team is getting better. I think in one month, if we continue to develop, we will be there."
Arsenal looked set to exact some revenge when, against the run of play, they went two goals ahead thanks to Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud. However, Klaas Jan Huntelaar reduced the deficit in first-half stoppage time and the Gunners saw victory snatched from their grasp when Jefferson Farfan's strike deflected in off Thomas Vermaelen.
"For us it was important first of all not to lose and if possible to win," the Frenchman added after the 2-2 draw. "We managed the first part, not the second one.
"I felt that overall we played reasonably well, but we dropped physically in the second half and the regret we have is that overall we conceded the goal just before half-time and we missed a chance at the end of the game. I think the two, of course, have a big impact on the result overall. Schalke never gave up and worked hard."
Wenger returned to the touchline for the first time this season in the Champions League after completing a three-match European ban.
The Gunners boss received the sanction by UEFA for his conduct after the last-16 defeat against AC Milan in March.
Wenger was not as controversial this evening but was clearly irritated by referee Nicola Rizzoli's decision not to award a foul in the build-up to Huntelaar's goal and also for booking Lukas Podolski, who was frustrated at the decision to halt the game due to an injury as Arsenal pressed forward in the second half.
Asked about the first incident, he said: "Yes, [it was a foul] on Walcott and he gave the foul against Walcott. I invite you to see it again. It is a foul from Afellay on Walcott, 100%."