Title challenge is over, admits Arsene

A stunning 30-yard volley from Danny Rose and a second-half strike

from Gareth Bale handed Spurs their first league victory over their

north London rivals since 1999. Arsenal, who replied late on

through Nicklas Bendtner, trail leaders Chelsea by six points with

four games remaining and Wenger admitted the gap is too great to

bridge. “We lost a game we couldn’t afford to lose in the title

race,” said the Gunners boss. “That shows that we’re not mature

enough because you can’t afford to lose this type of game if you

want to win the championship. “There’s too much to do now. We’re

very unlikely now to win the championship. “We’ll continue to fight

but even a point wasn’t enough from tonight – we needed three

points.” Trailing 2-0, Arsenal appeared to have run out of ideas

until the 68th minute arrival of Robin van Persie. Van Persie,

playing his first match in five months since recovering from ankle

ligament damage, drew two brilliant saves from Heurelho Gomes and

inspired the late flurry that saw Bendtner score. “Van Persie

hasn’t kicked a ball for five months. You could see straight away

he gave us something different and something special,” said Wenger.

“Tottenham defended very well and we were not good enough with our

final ball in the final third. “That was the story of the game

until Van Persie came on and transformed our game in the final

third. “The bad luck we’ve had this year is that we go into the

final sprint of the season with many good players out. “You could

see tonight that it was too much for us.” And Wenger’s mood would

not have been helped by seeing Thomas Vermaelen limp off with a

calf strain, the defender will now be out for two to three weeks.