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Friday 28 April 2017

Welbeck realistic about City draw: it's two points dropped

Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck
Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck

Danny Welbeck regarded Arsenal's draw with Manchester City as two points dropped in the chase for the Champions League.

Having lost six of their last nine games in all competitions, a visit from Pep Guardiola's side represented a tough test for the under-fire Gunners.

But having fallen behind to goals from first Leroy Sane and then Sergio Aguero, they twice drew level through Theo Walcott and Shkodran Mustafi for a 2-2 draw.

Welbeck said: "We showed character but I think we have to look at the performance and see where we conceded the goals.

"At this point of the season and the position we're at, we know it's not good enough for us and it wouldn't be good for us to lose three points again. We dropped two and we've got to improve for next time.

"It's two attacking teams who want to play with the ball. It was a good one for the neutrals to watch but both teams wanted to get three points."

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have stopped the rot thanks to yesterday's draw despite the fact that the result suited neither team.

Arsenal remain seven points adrift of City in fourth, albeit having played a game fewer, while Pep Guardiola's team sit 11 points behind league leaders Chelsea.

But for Arsenal, after crushing losses to Liverpool, West Brom and Bayern Munich last month, the result at least restored some confidence.

Wenger said: "We started with a high level of anxiety and were punished straight away. Overall I felt it was a mental test and overall you could see the team was touched on the confidence front. The fluency of our game suffered.

"We have shown great mental resource. The worst time in a football game to concede is just before half-time. On top of that, we lost (Laurent) Koscielny and in the second half we came back to 2-2.

"Overall it will help us to build confidence because the players certainly showed some mental strength and that will help us to come back to our natural fluency."

Arsenal had to do without Laurent Koscielny in the second half after the defender suffered an injury to his Achilles and was replaced by Gabriel. Wenger was unsure about the extent of the damage to Koscielny but said Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey could be available for Wednesday's game at home to West Ham after both missed out.

Arsenal fans staged a march outside the Emirates Stadium before kick-off to protest against Wenger being offered a new contract and, inside, the atmosphere was tense throughout. On the fans, Wenger added: "In very difficult moments our fans, at 1-0 down and 2-1 down, could have turned against us but I think they were absolutely sensational to get us through those difficult moments."

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