London - Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal had to conquer their
nerves before securing the 3-1 win that thrust them back in the Premier League
Wenger's side had fallen six points behind leaders Chelsea
after drawing three of their last four league games and they were in danger of
another damaging setback at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Having led through Alexis Sanchez's early goal, the Gunners
were pegged back by Callum Wilson's controversial penalty midway through the
With the Arsenal faithful getting restless, Wenger revealed
he had tried to calm his players down at half-time as they wrestled with the
anxieties caused by three successive draws.
They responded to Wenger's pep talk by scoring twice after
half-time through Theo Walcott and Sanchez to move within three points of
"We started well but when they equalised we became
nervous," Wenger said.
"That is where the three draws were on our mind. It was
down to us to calm down at half-time and just focus on the game."
Wenger was frustrated by referee Mike Jones' decision to
award Bournemouth's penalty for an innocuous collision between Wilson and Nacho
Monreal and he was fearing the worst at that point.
Also read: Wenger, Mourinho set for Old Trafford reunion
"My view is we should have had a penalty on Sanchez and
Bournemouth's was a very soft one," he said.
"It was shoulder to shoulder. I was really amazed he
"We became nervous and they became more dynamic. For me
it's not exactly the side I wanted to play. They are a tricky side and keep the
Driven on by the irrepressible Sanchez, Arsenal eventually
find their rhythm in the second half and Wenger was quick to pay tribute to the
Chile forward, who has scored 10 goals this season.
"Sanchez, even though he looks dead he is still alive.
He finds the resources to win the ball and do something special," Wenger
"He has the guts. He has that conditioning which allows
him to always find an extra gear to be dangerous."
- Essential -
Wenger said he knows keeping Sanchez is essential if Arsenal
are to challenge for major silverware, even if performances like this mean he
could demand a bigger salary.
Asked if Arsenal were any closer to tying up a contract
extension with Sanchez, Wenger added: "It is important, how important I
"We won't do that tonight. We have some time.
"You (the media) like us to spend money, so you should
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was frustrated that his team
left empty-handed despite an enterprising display and he took a shot at Jones
for failing to award his team a second penalty for a handball by Monreal.
"We were well in that game, we created a number of
chances. The 3-1 scoreline is difficult to take," he said.
"It's difficult here, especially when you are
Bournemouth. A couple of things have gone against us.
"I'm not a fan of really soft penalties, but a bit of
consistency seems to have gone out of the game.
"But we were without a number of players today and
there wasn't much between the teams.
"The future of the team is good. I back us to be okay
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