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Arsenal plagued by stubbornness


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Ballack hits back at Wenger

Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has hit out at Arsene Wenger's criticism of the Premier League leaders, after the Arsenal boss accused the Blues of tactically fouling his players.

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Wenger's side lost 2-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but after the match he claimed "we didn't get a demonstration of football" from the home side - a comment that left Ballack unhappy.

"Wenger always says things like this when he loses to find an excuse," Ballack said. "We knew the way Arsenal play. It is always the same style.

"Football is not possession of the ball and playing a nice pass - football is about winning games. That is what Manchester United showed when they played them and what we did. We derived the win because we were very effective, and that was our strategy." Germany captain Ballack now believes that the title race is a straight shoot-out between current champions Manchester United and his Chelsea side, with Arsenal not good enough to be considered viable contenders.

"If you look now, it seems like a race between Manchester United and us. But four weeks ago, you could see how it was [different] and it can go quick when teams lose points," Ballack said.

Chelsea face Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday looking to extend their two-point lead over United and nine-point lead over Arsenal, while the Gunners face Liverpool in a game they must win to reignite their title ambitions.


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