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Page last updated at 08:50 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal are back in title race

Arsene Wenger (right) was delighted with his team's second-half performance
Arsenal responded to harsh half-time words from Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thinks his team are back in the Premier League title race after inspiring his team to come from behind to beat Liverpool.

The Gunners are six points behind leaders Chelsea after Andrey Arshavin's winner capped a second-half comeback.

Wenger had lost his temper at half-time, with Cesc Fabregas noting: "I have never seen him like that."

Asked if his team were back in the frame, Wenger said: "Mathematically yes, and mentally certainly."

The Gunners trailed 1-0 at the break after an awful opening 45 minutes that had seen Dirk Kuyt score for Liverpool.

But the Gunners were much improved in the second half, with an own goal from Glen Johnson levelling the scores before Arshavin's superb winner on the ground where he scored four goals in the Premier League last season.

Arshavin was the danger man - Wenger

And skipper Fabregas added of Wenger's half-time team-talk: "It worked, maybe he should do it more often.

"He tried to tell us what we had to do in order to improve."

Wenger himself played down the significance of his uncharacteristic half-time outburst.

"I believe that sometimes you have to respond to what the team needs," said the 60-year-old.

"I try to be composed. It was good to be able to surprise the players after 13 years (in charge of Arsenal)."

Chelsea were held at home on Saturday, while Manchester United were beaten at Old Trafford - increasing the importance of Sunday's contest at Anfield between two contenders with title aspirations of their own.

"It was a tremendous opportunity," added Wenger.

"I believe we were not ourselves in the first-half - we played with a hand-brake on.

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"Liverpool had a great opening 45 minutes but in the second half it was different."

Wenger had words of sympathy for opposite number Rafael Benitez, who is under increasing pressure.

Liverpool are 13 points off the top of the table - and five points adrift of a top-four place.

"Liverpool were a bit unlucky," said the Arsenal boss.

"They are a very good side but at the moment things are not going for them," said the Frenchman.

"I still believe Liverpool have a good team who can beat anyone in the league."

Benitez felt that his team deserved something from the game.

Arsenal had more confidence - Benitez

"The first half we were really good - we scored the goal, had another clear chance and there was a clear penalty turned down," said the Spaniard.

"In the second half there was Glen Johnson's goal early and that changed everything and we lost our confidence."

Benitez introduced David Ngog and summer-signing Alberto Aquilani in the latter stages but Arsenal close out the latter stages in relative comfort.

"We had attacking players on the pitch but we were not controlling the ball," he said.

"After the first half it is difficult to explain why we have not won."



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Premier League results

13 Dec 2009 23:59 UK


Premier League table

Sunday, 13 December 2009 17:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Premier League table
1 Chelsea 16 27 37
2 Man Utd 16 20 34
3 Arsenal 15 21 31
4 Aston Villa 16 12 29
5 Tottenham 16 13 27
6 Man City 15 8 26
7 Liverpool 16 10 24
8 Birmingham 16 0 24
9 Fulham 16 3 23
10 Sunderland 16 0 21
11 Stoke 16 -4 21
12 Blackburn 16 -12 19
13 Burnley 16 -14 18
14 Wigan 16 -17 18
15 Everton 16 -8 17
16 Hull 17 -17 17
17 Wolves 16 -13 16
18 West Ham 16 -7 14
19 Bolton 15 -12 13
20 Portsmouth 16 -10 11

see also
Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal
13 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Chelsea 3-3 Everton
12 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Man Utd 0-1 Aston Villa
12 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Sunday football as it happened
13 Dec 09 |  Football
Premier League photos
13 Dec 09 |  Football



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