Cesc Fabregas a broken man as Spurs rock his title bid

21 April 2011 09:05
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to give up on his title dream after letting another lead slip in a thrilling north London derby.

The Frenchman also defended captain Cesc Fabregas after his skipper had given a damning assessment of his side's six-year silverware drought this week. But Fabregas cut a forlorn figure at the final whistle.

Still smarting from conceding a late equaliser to Liverpool on Sunday, Arsenal let a 3-1 lead fall away as Tottenham claimed a point with a Rafael van der Vaart penalty. Chelsea, who beat Birmingham City 3-1, go above the Gunners, both six points behind Manchester United. 

Spurs 3 Arsenal 3: Read Matt Barlow's match report on the white hot mayhem

Choked: Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas buries his head after the final whistle

Wenger insisted: 'It's not over - we'll fight until the end. In the second half we dropped physically because wehad a difficult game against Liverpool on Sunday. We've had two games in four days, our recovery was a bit short and  we suffered physically in the second half but were very unfortunate to concede the penalty.'

Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie all scored inside the first 40 minutes, against an early Van der Vaart reply, but Wenger felt the key goal was a spectacular volley by Tom Huddlestone which brought Spurs back into it just prior to half-time.

Comeback complete: Wojciech Szczesny brings down Aaron Lennon for the second-half penalty

'Maybe the (Tottenham) second goal was decisive because we wanted to get to half-time with a two-goal lead,but we had an outstanding spirit and we have to keep battling to the last day.

'Both sides could have won the game tonight but I didn't see any failure in our attitude. We came here to score goals and played a team who are very good going forward.

'Our mental strength is outstanding. We have faced criticism but this team deserves much more.'

Spot on: Rafael Van der Vaart tucked away the penalty to earn Spurs a draw

Wenger,who had a touchline spat with Spurs coach Clive Allen during the secondhalf, added: 'Chelsea are now back in the race. Chelsea play Man Unitedand Tottenham. It's down to us. It's open.

'We have to keep our faith and keep battling. We do not always draw when you score three goals. It was a special game tonight.'

Fabregas cut a distressed figure after the final whistle as the reality of two more points dropped sank in. In an interview with a Spanish magazine, he had been quoted as saying the Gunners must decide between winning trophies or nurturing talent, as well as suggesting Wenger would have been sacked in Spain for going six seasons without a trophy.

Flashpoint: Clive Allen jumped from the bench, entered Arsenal's technical area and pushed Arsene Wenger away with his clenched fist and forearm

Wenger added: 'Cesc's article bothersme. And I will tell you why, because this was an article organised by the club with a check view after (the) article.

'Not only did the author not respect the agreement, but also he did twist completely the article and we are really upset about it.

'In no way was it an attack on me. I know Cesc well enough and I don't think I need to say much more.'

Agony and ecstacy: Arsenal boss Wenger (left) and his Spurs counterpart Redknapp

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp saw it as a point gained in their pursuit of a Champions League place again next season. Far from being despondent that they lie two points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, Redknapp said: 'What a great game, fantastic game. I didn't enjoy it when they went 3-1 up, but we fought back and got the goal before half-time. I felt we were excellent in the second half and we had the best chances to win it in the end.'

Is that the way to the title? Apparently not, despite the goals from Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri

Tottenham skipper Michael Dawson said: 'After going 3-1 down we've got to be happy. We had chances in the second half and maybe could have won it. Going a goal down so early in a derby is never good but Tom scored a wonder goal to get us back in it. There are six more big games to go and we're in with a great chance.'

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 Explore more:People: Robin Van Persie, Clive Allen, Michael Dawson, Harry Redknapp, Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Arsene Wenger, Tom Huddlestone Places: Liverpool, London, Spain

Source: Daily_Mail