A frustrated Arsene Wenger admitted the Gunners have lost the right to dream about a first Premier League title since 2004, and must quickly recover from Wednesday’s loss ahead of Saturday’s north London derby clash at Tottenham.
Wayne Routledge and Ashley Williams struck the goals to sink Arsenal, who took an early lead through Joel Campbell but then hit the woodwork three times.
It’s been a miserable four days for Arsenal as they lost to a Manchester United U21 side on Sunday and then lost 2-1 at home to relegation threatened Swansea at home on Wednesday. Win both games as the Gunners are top of the Premier League. Lose at the weekend against Spurs and Arsenal could be 1 point above the Europa League places.
And that trip to White Hart Lane has got even tougher with the news that goalkeeper Petr Cech suffered a calf problem and will be miss the Tottenham trip, as will defender Laurent Koscielny.
“At the moment I am worrying more about the result,” said Wenger, when asked how the loss would affect Arsenal’s title bid.
“We’ve just lost three games and that is always a very difficult moment for the team.
“So at the moment we don’t dream, we have to be realistic and come back to what we do well. And do the basics.
“We want the focus to be on trying to win the next game, and we won’t talk about the title tonight. I’m not in the mood to do that tonight.
“It’s a big disappointment and we have to swallow that and bounce back.”
Arsenal now trail league leaders Leicester by six points with 10 games to play in the Premier League campaign.
The Gunners missed the chance to claw back some ground on the Foxes, who had only mustered a 2-2 draw with West Brom on Tuesday night.
Wenger insisted Arsenal must now earn the right to discuss a title tilt all over again, starting with Saturday’s trip to Tottenham.
When asked for Arsenal’s title prospects, Wenger replied:
“I don’t know, it’s very difficult to say because everybody has dropped points.
“I think at the moment I believe we have first to come back to a positive result before we speak about the championship, and that’s what is at stake at the moment.
“It’s unpredictable, and Man City lost, Tottenham lost, it’s very difficult to predict what will happen in this league.”
Cech’s error gifted Williams the winner, the former Chelsea goalkeeper flapping at Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick cross when poorly positioned.
Wenger said the 33-year-old will now miss Saturday’s White Hart Lane trip.
“Petr Cech struggled. He had a groin problem before the game, and he struggled on a little bit tonight,” Wenger said.
“He will not play on Saturday.
“I trust completely Ospina, I have no problem with that.
“It’s a muscular problem, a calf problem. I don’t know how long he will be out.
“Koscielny has a calf problem as well. He will not play on Saturday as well.
“I think it is a very unlucky defeat because we created many chances, were unlucky with our finishing and their two shots on target were the two goals in the whole game.
“It’s very disappointing, the players are very down but we have to respond to that.”
This is Arsenal’s best time in a decade to win the title and there will be a lot of questions asked of Wenger if Leicester or Spurs win it. Especially if the Gunners slump takes them out of the top four places.