Premier League - Wenger never had doubts

Mon, 12 Mar 23:41:00 2012

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he never doubted his side's ability to grab a winner in their 2-1 Premier League win over Newcastle.

Arsenal 2 Newcastle 1

The Gunners narrowed the gap on third-placed Tottenham Hotspur to one point when Thomas Vermaelen struck deep in stoppage time to seal victory at the Emirates.

It was the fourth successive league game that Arsenal have come from behind to win as they made the most of a slump in form by their bitter north London rivals to challenge their grip on third spot.

Visitors Newcastle went ahead in the 14th minute through Hatem Ben Arfa's low drive but their celebrations were extremely short-lived as Arsenal's man of the moment Robin van Persie struck to level the scores less than a minute later.

Arsenal were in danger of failing to turn their dominance into more goals before Vermaelen prodded home in the fifth minute of stoppage time after Newcastle failed to clear.

Despite a series of misses by the likes of Gervinho, Van Persie and Tomas Rosicky, Wenger said he always believed yet another comeback was on the cards.

"I said to my assistant (Pat Rice), one more attack and we will score," he said. "We caught them on a counter-attack on the final movement of the game. We got five minutes of extra time and that allowed us to win the game."

He added: "It was a game of absolute commitment on both sides, you have to give credit to Newcastle as well.

"It needed something special to beat them tonight. And what beat them tonight was our relentless effort just to win the game, and we just did not stop, and in the end we won it."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was disappointed by the manner in which he team lost and pointed to the amount of injury time added on at the end of the pulsating encounter, although he did concede goalkeeper Tim Krul's timewasting could have been a factor.

"It was a total commitment tonight to get something from a team that are really in form," he said. "They pushed and they pushed and unfortunately we didn't have the legs left.

"Last-minute defeats are galling. We could have had a bit more threat, could have kept the ball a little bit better, but it's difficult, they're a tough team here.

"We put such an effort in that we were really running out of steam. The five extra minutes didn't help us.

"The goalie's going to take his time, we're away from home, but maybe he took a bit too long on one or two, and it is frustrating for home fans.

"We have it ourselves at our place, but you couldn't fault us for commitment and effort."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he never doubted his side's ability to grab a winner in their 2-1 Premier League win over Newcastle. - 2

Eurosport / Reuters

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