Arsenal v Wolves reaction

The Gunners could have capitalised on Monday’s dropped points from

Chelsea to climb back into the Premier League top four with victory

in a game put back by 24 hours because of industrial action by some

London Underground staff on Boxing Day. However, despite taking an

early lead through Gervinho, Arsenal were pegged back before the

break by Steven Fletcher’s close-range header. The visitors then

survived the second-half dismissal of midfielder Nenad Milijas by

referee Stuart Attwell as inspired keeper Wayne Hennessey denied

the home side time and again. Wenger felt the expectation level had

perhaps got the better of his squad. “It was the kind of day where

maybe we were not relaxed enough, maybe we wanted it so much, that

we were a bit too in the ‘wanting zone’ and not enough in just the

‘technical zone’,” the Arsenal boss said. “There are going to be a

lot of twists and turns. “When you have the luck of the results

yesterday and you play today, you can take advantage of it, that is

where the worrying thing is because in the season you have to take

your opportunities.” Wenger added: “We just have to keep going and

take the positives out of the game. “It is frustrating, but I am

more frustrated by the result than the performance and the spirit.

You cannot fault the attitude or the commitment or the desire to

win the game.” “Their ‘keeper had the game of his life, Wolves

fought like mad and well done to them. “I don’t know how many shots

we had on goal and how many they had, but it was the kind of game

that if you play it 20 times you win 19 and you draw one – and it

was today, which we could not afford.” In the 57th minute, Laurent

Koscielny’s cross struck Wolves defender Christophe Berra on the

arm, but referee Attwell was not interested – and instead showed a

yellow card to Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen for complaining. Wenger

said: “What can I do? It looks like for us, to get a penalty we

will have to fight very hard. I have seen the handball at

Manchester City and it was definitely handball. “I personally am

responsible for the performance of my team, not for the referee, I

have no influence. “Despite that we could have won the game today

and that’s what we have to look at.” Arsenal were without winger

Theo Walcott today because of a stomach problem, but the England

international is expected to be available for the New Year’s Eve

visit of QPR. Wenger, though, remained coy over suggestions of a

loan deal to bring former skipper Thierry Henry back before the

Major League Soccer season started again in the United States. “No,

nothing has happened since last week,” he said. “I expect nothing

at the moment, just to calm down.” Wolves boss Mick McCarthy had

punched the air in delight at the final whistle – which came after

six minutes of stoppage time during which Arsenal bombarded the

visitors’ penalty area. “I am delighted and proud. It was a

difficult place to come and play,” he said. “Wayne is a good

goalkeeper, one of the best in the league, and he gets a bit to do

playing behind us. “We know we can rely on him and trust him. It is

fantastic – and it was a great performance today.” Attwell had

shown a straight red card to Milijas for a challenge on Mikel

Arteta. McCarthy indicated Wolves could appeal. “He did what he

saw. If he sees it again then it can’t be [a red card]. He’s got

his foot on the ground and makes contact with the ball,” he said.

“Somebody said to me ‘he’s got his studs up’. Well, you generally

do if you tackle with your foot sliding in.” McCarthy added: “That

rarefied atmosphere out there is a difficult place to work in

whether you are a player, coach, manager, referee or assistant.

“It’s pretty pressurised out there and I think there was a lot of

pressure on him to do it.”