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English Premiership

Wenger: Late goal mental blow

SANCHEZ-CELEBLONDON, September 15-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits that conceding a late equaliser to Manchester City in their 2-2 draw on Saturday came as “a mental blow” to his side.

The Gunners found themselves trailing to Sergio Aguero’s 28th-minute opener at the Emirates, but they fought back after the break to claim the lead courtesy of goals from Jack Wilshere and Alexis Sanchez.

However, Martin Demichelis powered home a header from a corner with seven minutes remaining to clinch a share of the spoils for the defending Premier League champions, who had the ball in the back of the net again in stoppage time, but Samir Nasri’s effort was ruled out for off-side.

Wenger revealed his frustration that the Gunners weren’t able to see the contest out, admitting it is a problem area that needs to be addressed.

“I think we produced a game of top quality,” he said in the post-match press conference. “It was a game of top quality between two very good teams, played at tremendous pace, especially in the first half.

“We were unlucky to be 1-0 down in the first half and we did something remarkable to come back and be in a leading position. The only frustrating thing for me is that we didn’t manage to keep the lead and gave a cheap goal away.

“That’s where we have room for improvement because it was a very encouraging game but the way we conceded the second goal nearly killed our game because we could have lost afterwards – it was just a mental blow. But overall I think it was a top quality game.”

City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini criticised the referee for allowing the hosts’ two goals to stand for what he thought were clear fouls in the build-up, but Wenger felt the visitors got away with numerous fouls to stem the tide.

“Both managers were frustrated because I heard Pellegrini was not happy with some of the decisions of the referee,” the Frenchman said. “All of them? Yes, maybe.

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“In the first half they stopped us from going out on the break by systematically fouling. Even if the referee gave the foul, the yellow card came a bit too late in my opinion to be completely satisfied and get rid of that systematic foul that stopped us in our game.

“We had great pace in our game today and they stopped that in an intelligent way. They are a mature team and intelligent but it was not an easy game to referee as well.”

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