Wenger: Gunners can't be Robin reliant07/05/2012 - 11:37:35
Arsene Wenger has challenged his Arsenal squad to stand up and be counted on the final day of the season and not just rely on Robin van Persie firing them into the Champions League.
The Gunners’ inability to see off Norwich at Emirates Stadium in what was a thrilling 3-3 draw on Saturday did not ultimately prove too costly after Newcastle were beaten by Manchester City and Tottenham failed to win at Aston Villa.
Another weekend of unpredictable results means Arsenal retain a one-point advantage in third place heading into their final fixture at West Brom next weekend.
Wenger, though, accepts Arsenal cannot have another off day and just hope Van Persie will again dig them out of trouble, the captain having chalked up his 30th Barclays Premier League goal of what has been an outstanding individual campaign with a second-half brace against the Canaries.
“When you look at the chances we created, it is absolutely unbelievable that we scored only three goals,” said the Arsenal boss.
“Again we are punished because Robin had to score and many times we do not get enough goals from elsewhere.
“We had so many obvious chances that you would want somebody else to score one. That does not happen enough.
“Of course we need to address that because I feel there was enough room to score six or seven goals.”
Wenger admitted his side had, not for the first time in recent weeks, failed to be tuned in to the job at hand.
He said: “Is it down to too much preparation, not being switched on or subconsciously thinking we will manage to do it?
“We have character because to come from where we did [earlier in the season], but maybe subconsciously we thought, ’okay, we will do it against Norwich’.”
Wenger continued: “We have had room to do even better.
“When you consider the last three home games we have taken two points, when you are so close to where we were, we have a lot of regrets.
“Let us hope we will not pay the heavy price for that.”
Should Arsenal lose at The Hawthorns – which will be Roy Hodgson’s final match before taking charge of England – and results elsewhere go against them this time, then the Gunners could even end up down in fifth place.
Wenger conceded: “This was a massive blow. The only question for us is what will be the price for it.
“Will it be us out of the Champions League or not?
“We don’t know because fourth is not Champions League, it is a qualifier at best, and maybe not at all if Chelsea win the Champions League.
“We will have to see – then we can analyse what will be done, but we are not out of it yet.”
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