AW taken aback by Gunners revival

The Gunners found themselves a massive 11 points adrift of Premier

League leaders Chelsea after last month’s 3-0 defeat at home to

Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but moved back up to third on the back of

Sunday’s 2-1 win at Liverpool – six points behind the Blues and

with a game in hand. Wenger did not anticipate how quickly his team

would get back in the hunt and believes their current revival is a

message of defiance to their detractors. He said: “We feel that we

have sent out a message to all the people who wrote us off after we

were beaten at home by Chelsea. “We have got ourselves back very

close to the leaders – just six points away from Chelsea with a

game in hand. “We have come back at them in a very short space of

time since they beat us in late November. Even I did not expect

that to happen.” Arsenal on Sunday became the first side in six

years to triumph at Anfield after going behind. Wenger added: “The

win at Liverpool is a very significant victory, but only if it is

followed by good results now over the next few weeks. “We have to

go to Burnley now on Wednesday, a difficult game against a side

very good at home, and then we have Hull at the Emirates on

Saturday. We must maintain our current form in those games. “We

have shown that we have mental strength. For us, we are back into

contention following the other results from Saturday. “We knew

beforehand that we had to take advantage of others dropping points.

We are in a good position with a game in hand and mentally it was a

massive game for us.” Arsenal have profited handsomely from the

fact that Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City

– and Liverpool – all lost points at the weekend. But the visitors’

first-half display enraged Wenger, who suggested to his team at the

break that they were not worthy of wearing the Arsenal shirt. He

said: “I could not be pleased with what I saw in the first half.

Nobody should be surprised that I reacted the way I did with the

team. “I was surprised how much Liverpool’s form dropped in the

second half. They had been playing at 100 miles an hour and it is

hard to maintain that kind of pace for 90 minutes.” Wenger also

hailed match winner Andrey Arshavin, who scored four times in last

season’s 4-4 draw at Anfield and grabbed the crucial goal against

the Merseysiders on Sunday. The Frenchman said: “He had an injured

right foot, he has not been able to practice his shooting all week.

But when he hit that shot, he forgot all about the pain.” Wenger

also confirmed Arsenal will continue to investigate the chances of

a compensation claim against the Dutch FA following the injury to

Robin van Persie while on international duty. He said: “I am

looking to re-balance the power more towards the clubs. That

feeling is shared by many managers. “We have nothing to say, our

players go away with their countries and get injured and nobody

cares and we have to just accept the situation. “We have two

situations – compensation for competitive games, but none for

friendlies. “Why should that be? The risk is exactly the same. If a

player is injured early in the week with his country, why does the

club doctor not have the right to see the player before he

continues to train with his national team? “The national team

doctor is under pressure, politically, to keep the players. “After

a week the player returns to his club, he is injured and nobody

knows why – with our own doctors having been unable to see the

player.”