Blame me for Arsenal's failure this season, says Wenger

April 26, 2011 - 0:0

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he is to blame for the team's failures this season after a 2-1 loss at Bolton all but ended their title bid.

The Gunners now trail league leaders Manchester United by nine points with four games left to play.
A United win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday will ensure Arsenal's trophyless run is extended to six seasons.
""The players have been outstanding all season. If there is somebody to blame, it is me,"" said Wenger.
Wenger admitted after the defeat at the Reebok Stadium that his side's chances of winning the title had all but gone.
""We have to give as much as we can until the last game but of course the chances are minimal now,"" he added.
Wenger's side were ultimately undone by a last-minute header from a corner from Bolton substitute Tamir Cohen, after Robin van Persie had cancelled out Daniel Sturridge's first-half opener - also following a corner - and keeper Wojciech Szczesny had saved a Kevin Davies penalty.
The Gunners, though, had plenty of opportunities in the second half to win the game, most notably through Samir Nasri, who twice failed to convert when well positioned.
""It is difficult to swallow the way we lost the game,"" said Wenger. ""We gave everything we had left today and the way we lost is difficult to accept.
""We had the chances to win it. We didn't take them and we were very frail on corners.
""The players have given a lot. The week we just had sums up our season: A lot of quality in our game but not enough reward for the effort we produced.""
The defeat at Bolton comes at the end of a week in which Arsenal have thrown away points by drawing games they could have won.
Last Sunday, after taking a 108th-minute lead against Liverpool, they allowed Kenny Dalglish's side to equalise from the penalty spot with the last kick of the game, and then on Wednesday, they allowed north London rivals Tottenham to come back from 3-1 down to earn a draw at White Hart Lane.
Wenger knows things must change - Dixon While these results appear to have ultimately ended Arsenal's title bid, Wenger charts their demise to the 2-1 League Cup final defeat by Birmingham, where a last-minute goal again cost the Gunners.
In the following month, they were also eliminated in the first knock-out stage of the Champions League by Barcelona, had their FA Cup challenge ended by Manchester United and dropped vital points in the league courtesy of draws against teams they were expected to beat.
[the League Cup final] had a big impact on the players' minds, the last-minute mistake, but it has happened to us many times this season,"" said Wenger.
While Sunday's defeat ends a run of 16 games unbeaten for Arsenal, eight of those have been draws, and Wenger admitted he was frustrated his side could not make more of the opportunity presented to them.
“It's very unsatisfactory because it's one of the easiest run-ins we've had for a long time and we didn't take our chances many times. That's frustrating because you feel the potential is there but you have to take your chances,"" he added.
""We still lack maturity, experience and calm in important situations.""
In the aftermath of Wednesday's draw at Tottenham, former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon told BBC Sport this week that their failure this season could lead Wenger to break away from his focus on developing young players and spend money on more experienced individuals.
""They're not a million miles away, but the pressure from outside and also from within Arsene himself, because he hasn't achieved want he wants to achieve, will lead him to maybe change his philosophy,"" said Dixon.
""The timing of the new ownership will put more pressure on him in the summer to spend more money and make a couple of big signings.
""I think he'll still want to keep a policy where he doesn't smash the wage structure, but I still think they need one or two leaders, big personalities.""
(Source: BBC)
@H= Berbatov ruled out of Schalke clash
@T=Dimitar Berbatov has been ruled out of the first leg of Manchester United's Champions League semi-final with Schalke with a groin injury.
Berbatov missed Saturday's 1-0 win over Everton and was not on the plane with his team-mates at Manchester Airport ahead of the trip to Germany on Monday.
It is arguable whether Berbatov would have started the game anyway as in-form Javier Hernandez bagged his 19th goal of the season at the weekend, as his partnership with Wayne Rooney continues to blossom.
The Bulgarian has one year left on his current deal at Old Trafford and is stalling over an extension as his former Tottenham club have been linked with a summer move in the region of £10 million.
(Source: Soccernet)
@H= Metzelder identifies Rooney threat
@T=Schalke defender Christoph Metzelder has put a target firmly on Wayne Rooney's back ahead of Manchester United's Champions League semi-final first leg visit to Germany on Tuesday.
Rooney has rediscovered something like his best form in recent weeks and he was again influential in United's 1-0 Premier League victory over Everton at Old Trafford on Saturday, drifting off the forward line expertly to dictate play.
Metzelder, 30, said Schalke are well aware of Rooney's ability to find space and would be looking to limit his freedom, even if merely seeking to do so and actually achieving that aim can be two different stories.
""It's all about stopping Rooney, he's the key player,"" Metzelder said. ""The first match is at home so it will be very important not to concede a goal. Against Chelsea he dropped into the midfield, so it's important to defend against him not only with the defensive line but also with the midfielders.
Metzelder said he was glad Schalke had avoided favourites Barcelona in their first-ever Champions League semi-final, claiming United more conventional style of play is easier to counter than the tiki-taka of the Spanish pass-masters.
""Of course we know that Manchester United have so many key players but they don't scare us,"" he said. ""It would be much more difficult for us to play against Barcelona. The style of Manchester United is easier for us, if you can say that. Barcelona take control and they make you run so much it's very difficult to defend against them. It's easier to play against teams like Manchester United - or even Real Madrid.""
But Metzelder is by no means underestimating the challenge ahead for Schalke, though, conceding the German side are the underdogs.
""Manchester United have had so much experience in the Champions League over the last 20 years. Individually they are so very strong so they're big favourites.
""Our advantage is certainly that Manchester United will be busy thinking about facing either Real or Barcelona at Wembley in the final. We will definitely be looking to come up with something.""
(Source: Soccernet)
@H= Balotelli driving City mad with fines
@T=Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is evidently having as much trouble parking his car as he has putting on a bib, as it has been revealed that his luxury Maserati has been impounded 27 times since his arrival in England.
A report in the Sun has claimed that Balotelli has racked up nearly £10,000 in fines, with an average of three parking tickets per day arriving due to his lack of parking nous.
A source at the club told the paper: ""Mario will drive from his luxury apartment to a restaurant a few streets away and leave the car on double yellows. The other week the Maserati misfired so he just abandoned it. Staff have had to bail it out 27 times.
""The valet the club uses empties the glove box of tickets every time he cleans it. Mario doesn't seem to care. It's a drop in the ocean to him.
""Mario was pulled over by the police and he had £25,000 cash on the passenger seat. They asked him why and he said, 'Because I can'. He doesn't care much for authority.""
(Source: Soccernet)

@H=Wilshere retains double dream
@T=Jack Wilshere has revealed a double dream of winning the Premier League this term and playing in the Olympics.
The Gunners are now six points off leaders Manchester United after their controversial draw with Liverpool on Sunday, in which both sides were awarded - and scored - penalties in injury-time.
Arsene Wenger's side still have to play the Red Devils at the Emirates and Wilshere retains hope of winning the title, being convinced their rivals will drop points in the run-in.
The England starlet, who scooped the PFA young player of the year award on Sunday, said: ""We have six cup finals left.
""We feel we are still in it. I believe that 100 per cent. If we don't believe then what chance have we got? We know the manager believes.
Drop points ""Maybe the fans are starting not to believe but they are great every week, they are behind us. We have to repay that. We are confident Man Utd will drop points.
""They lost at the weekend (in the FA Cup) and they have a big game in the Champions League coming up. Maybe that can put them off.
""They still have to come to the Emirates. If we beat them then maybe we can put them on a bad run.""
But to keep their fading title hopes alive, Wenger's side must beat arch-rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Wednesday.
Wilshere added: ""Arsenal versus Tottenham is massive for the fans.
""It's the one they want to win all year. So we have to put the Liverpool game behind us.
""We have to go to Tottenham and not just do it for the fans but do it for ourselves and keep our title hopes alive.''
As regards the London Olympics next summer, Wilshere says it would be a ""dream"" to take part, despite the spectacle coming after the Euro 2012 finals, with the fear among some there could be 'burn-out' for players.
But Wilshere is adamant he would love to play if selected, saying: ""The Olympics are going to be massive in London.
""It will be brilliant. It would be a dream to play in the Olympics.""
(Source: Skysports)