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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 27, 2007

Wenger remains calm as Man Utd seize top spot

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists he is not worried about the prospect of beginning 2008 trailing Manchester United in the race for the Premier League title.

The Gunners failed to reclaim top spot from United last night when they were held to a 0-0 draw at Portsmouth.

Now they must prepare for Saturday's trip to in-form Everton in the knowledge that United, who dismantled Sunderland 4-0 and finish the year at West Ham, have their destiny in their own hands.

But Wenger insisted: 'Although a 0-0 draw is a disappointment it is not too bad.

'We have lost one game since the beginning of the championship so you will have problems to convince me we are in crisis.

'If we go six months again by just losing none then we will be champions.

'The expectations are very high and when you do not get to the game you want to play it is disappointing.

'If you ask me I prefer to be in front, but with one point difference that is not that big a deal.

'I believe that if we just focus on our performances and get a good result at Everton then everything is all right.'

Wenger saw skipper William Gallas and midfielder Tomas Rosicky squander late chances at Fratton Park but the home side had a great opportunity themselves when Benjani Mwaruwari was put clear by ex-Gunner Kanu.

The Zimbabwe international was unable to finish the move having been held up by goalkeeper Manuel Almunia but Wenger was convinced Pompey had been playing for a draw all along.

He said: 'Portsmouth didn't play at all in the second half. They didn't come out at all, they just defended. It was surprising to see them just making the numbers with 10 at the back.'

Pompey boss Harry Redknapp hit back however, claiming it was unrealistic to expect teams to take on Arsenal in a cavalier fashion.

He said: 'I don't want to argue with Arsene, he's got his opinion and I am a great fan of the way Arsenal play the game, they are fantastic.

'But we are Portsmouth, let's not get carried away. What are we supposed to be doing with Arsenal - ripping them to pieces?'

The game was also Pompey's fifth successive failure to score in front of their own fans and followed a 4-1 defeat at Liverpool.

But Redknapp was convinced the players' good early-season form should not be underestimated.

He said: 'We went on a great run of 11 games unbeaten. I don't think you will ever see Portsmouth win six away games on the spin again in the Premier League. I just don't see that happening, certainly not in my lifetime. It would be a miracle if it does.'

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