Arsenal supremo admits: Champions League is out of our hands now
20:19 05 May 2012
Gunners must wait for Sunday games to see where they stand, says Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger admitted his bitter disappointment that Arsenal’s Champions League qualification is no longer in their control after they were held to a 3-3 draw by Norwich at the Emirates.
The Gunners boss watched his side concede a late equaliser to Steve Morison after seemingly rescuing the victory that would have put them in pole position to claim third place.
Arsenal are still third but could drop to fifth if Newcastle and Tottenham win on Sunday and Wenger said: “We have to wait for the results to see where it leaves us tomorrow night. We knew that if we didn’t win today, that is what would happen.
“It is more than frustrating because we were very poor in the first half, not switched on. The quality of our first half was absolutely not at the level we wanted in a decisive game like that.
“In the second half we did very well. We created at least 10 chances but again not only did we not take our chances, but on top of that we gave them a third goal in a situation that was absolutely unbelievable. In the end we got punished for our mistakes.”
Two goals from Robin van Persie saw Arsenal hit back from 2-1 behind to lead 3-2, but Morison’s equaliser silenced the Emirates hordes who were ready to celebrate what could have been a pivotal victory.
“It leaves us with one thing - it is not in our hands anymore,” said Wenger. “We have 67 points, and every year you qualify with 67 points.
“But we have to analyse the reasons why we were not sharp enough in the first half. There is no obvious reason because we prepared normally, but maybe subconsciously we felt we would win it. Norwich played well, you have to give them credit.”
Arsenal head to West Bromwich Albion on the final day of the season, and victory there would still be enough to seal third place if Spurs fail to win at Aston Villa on Sunday, and Newcastle do the same against Manchester City.
With Tottenham hosting Fulham on the final day, third place would seem to be in the grasp of Harry Redknapp’s side.
Fourth place of course could be good enough for Champions League qualification but only if Chelsea, who are not totally out of the top four reckoning themselves, lose the Champions League final to Bayern Munich on May 19.
To add to Wenger’s woes, right-back Bacary Sagna has broken his leg for the second time this season and has been ruled out of playing for France at the European Championship finals.