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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 7 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 12, 2007

Wenger eager to overcome Emirates problem

Arsene Wenger accepts Arsenal continue to be slow starters at the Emirates Stadium - but backed the 'character and resilience' of his side to see them through.

Not for the first time this season, the Gunners found themselves trailing at their new 60,000-seater home when Denny Landzaat fired struggling Wigan into a first-half lead with a brilliant strike.

But Arsenal regrouped following the interval and hit back to level through an own goal from Fitz Hall before Tomas Rosicky's late winner consolidated their position in fourth place in the Premiership - now just one point behind Liverpool with a match in hand.

Wenger understands the need to avoid constantly making life difficult for themselves at home.

'It is down to us to show more consistency,' said the Arsenal manager. 'They were on top of us - but we never decide to put ourselves in that position.

'Everybody comes here and starts very well, whereas we find it difficult. But usually other teams drop in the final part of the game and that is where our character and resilience comes through.'

Although Latics manager Paul Jewell was less than impressed by the performance of referee Phil Dowd, who turned down what looked a strong penalty claim from Emile Heskey, the Gunners were also unhappy at some of the tactics from the visitors.

Captain Thierry Henry exchanged words with goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who more than took his time at goal-kicks throughout the match.

'Thierry was upset - but what he did, for me, was right,' said Wenger. 'People do not pay money to see people waste time, they come to see football.

'Okay, he should not have done that but it is not the biggest insult we have seen in football. The time-wasting started in the first half - the goalkeeper kept crossing over his area to take kicks.'

Gunners keeper Jens Lehmann received a caution for just such an offence late in the match, which rules the German out of the Carling Cup final later this month.

Wenger said: 'Jens got a yellow card which I do not understand because Kirkland was doing it all game. Why should it only be on one side?'

Wenger added: 'Lehmann would not have played in the Carling Cup final anyway - but I would rather he had not been booked because if we have injuries, you do not know what might happen.'

Henry admitted the Gunners had been somewhat fortunate.

He said: 'Mathieu Flamini was offside so sometimes you have to put your hands up when you score goals like that.

'You cannot be too proud about it. Sometimes it goes against you and sometimes it goes for you. You have to be honest when it goes for you to say it out loud.'