Wenger half-time fury lifts Gunners

BY foxsports • December 14, 2009

The Arsenal chief launched a furious broadside at his team at half-time, with a vibrant Liverpool 1-0 ahead in this crucial Premier League battle. Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas revealed Wenger was so angry he told them "they didn't deserve to wear the shirt." That was enough to galvanise Arsenal into a comeback that secured a 2-1 victory to send them back to third place in the table, six points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand. Dirk Kuyt had given Liverpool a deserved lead at the break, and it probably should have been two had referee Howard Webb awarded a penalty when William Gallas floored Steven Gerrard. But after the interval a Glen Johnson own goal changed the course of the game and Andrey Arshavin rammed home a stunning winner. Wenger's fury, though, was the catalyst to Arsenal's recovery. He said: "I will not explain what I said at half-time (to my players). I will only say that Liverpool dominated the first half and Arsenal dominated the second period. "Liverpool played at a pace above us and won all the 50-50s in the first period, and at half-time a score of just 1-0 down was good for us. "I never speak about what I say at half-time. You respond to what you believe your team needs. I try to be composed. I was quite composed. "But it is good that after 13 years as manager I can still surprise the players like that." He added: "Liverpool played very well and we played with our handbrake on through fear. The fear of not winning big games, because we lost against Chelsea and Manchester United. "We brought that fear into the game. Once we had nothing to lose in the second period we played without that fear and we controlled the game. "We were lucky with our first goal, but the fear was in Liverpool's camp in the second half and we scored an outstanding goal. "From then on Liverpool's pace dropped and we were not really under any threat for the final 45 minutes. "For us, we are back into contention following the results from Saturday. We are in a good position with a game in hand and mentally it was a massive game for us. "With what happened on Saturday (to our rivals) we knew we needed to win at Anfield. We did that, now it is down to consistency. "The team who wins this title will be the one who is the most consistent, and nobody has done that yet. "It is more than a three horse race, there is Aston Villa, Manchester City and Spurs. There is a long way to go. "Chelsea will drop points, they have done so already and they will do so again. "Everyone will do that. There are so many good teams, like Liverpool. They have Torres and Gerrard back, Aquilani will get fitter and many teams will drop points at Anfield. "They played in the first half with an impressive level of performance. We now have to show consistency and character to continue in this vein." Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was angry referee Webb denied his side a penalty in that dominant first period. He said: "It would have been so much different had we been awarded that penalty (when Gallas tripped Gerrard). "It does not matter whether the ball has gone away from the player, it is still a penalty if you foul him and bring him down. "These decisions can make a massive difference. " He added: "We paid for not making the most of our first-half dominance. It is hard to explain after we were on top of them so much. "(Fernando) Torres had a great chance, we were denied a clear penalty when Gerrard was brought down and then everything changes when we give away an own goal at the beginning of the second period. "Everything changed. Our confidence was low, we were conceding possession and they were controlling the game all the time. "It was difficult to explain after we were playing so well. But the players have suffered so many problems this season, it is hard to keep their heads up when they suffer yet another one like the own goal. "But we have to bounce back, we must show character and play against Wigan on Wednesday the way we did in the first half against Arsenal."


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