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Monday 27 February 2012

Wenger savours comeback victory

Arsenal boss praises his side's spirit after stunning fightback against Tottenham

Bacary Sagna scored five minutes before half-time to start Arsenal's comeback

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his side are still alive after Sunday's stunning 5-2 Barclays Premier League victory over north London rivals Tottenham.

The Gunners, who have recently suffered morale-sapping defeats against AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League and Sunderland in the FA Cup, were facing the prospect of another loss when Tottenham went 2-0 up with first-half goals from Louis Saha and Emmanuel Adebayor.

But Arsenal fought back, scoring through Bacary Sagna and Robin van Persie before half-time before Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott (twice) completed the sensational comeback.

And Wenger believes the win over third-placed Tottenham will give his side renewed belief they can finish in the top four.

"We were 2-0 down but refused to lose the game and kept going no matter what happened"
- Arsene Wenger

"Arsenal are alive more than anybody thought before the game," he said.

"Today we gave a performance that on the spirit side, the technical side, the drive of the whole team, on the style of the game we want to play, everything was perfect despite a very bad start.

"I felt in the first five minutes Tottenham started well, after that it was all us for 85 minutes.

"We were always on top of the game. We were 2-0 down but refused to lose the game and kept going no matter what happened.

"Once we were back to 2-2 you could see that if we maintained the pace, we would win the game. We had a great spirit."

Arsenal are now seven points behind Tottenham and are level on points with fifth-placed Chelsea with 12 matches left in the League campaign.

And Wenger insists his side can still finish above Spurs in the table.

"It is still possible," he added. "I felt even before the game that it was possible if we keep our consistency.

"Everyone in the Premier League can lose points. They have a difficult schedule, and we have a difficult schedule, but if we continue to play like that, why not?"

Arsenal did have some bad news with defender Thomas Vermaelen and midfielder Rosicky picking up injuries that make the duo a "big doubt" for Saturday's League trip to Liverpool.

"Vermaelen has an ankle problem and Rosicky a back problem," said Wenger. "I don't think they will be available for Wednesday, whether they are available for Saturday is a big doubt."

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Key Points

  • Arsenal come back from 2-0 down to beat Spurs 5-2
  • Gunners boss Arsene Wenger hails the character of his team
  • Thomas Vermaelen and Tomas Rosicky doubtful for Liverpool match