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Wenger laments 'wasteful' Arsenal

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Wenger expects a difficult second-leg match in Rome

Manager Arsene Wenger praised Arsenal for the 1-0 win over Roma in their Champions League first-leg tie but rued his side's failure to score more goals.

Robin van Persie scored with a penalty but Nicklas Bendtner and Emmanuel Eboue were guilty of missing good chances to add to the Gunners' advantage.

"That is the regret we have tonight," reflected Wenger.

"I'm happy with our performance but there was room to score more goals - we know we can create chances."

He added: "One of the positives is we didn't concede a goal.

606: DEBATE

"It's put us in a position where we know we need to attack over there. If we score once that should be enough."

Wenger said his team, who had failed to score in their last three Premier League games, had found more space in attack in Tuesday's game against the Serie A side.

"Our pace gave them problems in the first half. In the first 20 minutes of the second half, we had one chance after another," stated Wenger.

"We lack maybe a bit of spontaneity because we want to do so well.

"I believe the games are locked in the Premier League because teams refuse to play. When the teams do not come out there is no space.

"In this kind of game both teams take the initiative when they win the ball back."

The Frenchman also explained the reasons why his team started the second half with only 10 men, with William Gallas and Kolo Toure left in the dressing room as Roma kicked off.

The duo eventually appeared after Gallas had received treatment, with Toure booked for running straight on to the pitch without the permission of Danish referee Claus Bo Larsen.

Wenger explains Toure and Gallas no-show

"It's explainable by the fact that Kolo always goes out last. He waited for William but didn't know William had treatment," explained Wenger.

"He didn't know the game had started without them. He was putting on his boots.

"I don't know if it is superstition. It is our fault. You have to be ready when the bell rings."

Despite the win, Wenger conceded that he was fully aware his side were still left with a tricky task in the second leg on 11 March.

"The next game will of course be an interesting one because they will throw much more forward," said the Frenchman.

"We have three more games between this tie and the second leg. At the speed we lose players it can be a difficulty for us."

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti had no complaints about the result.

"Arsenal probably performed better than us and they won with merit - I think it is a fair result," remarked Spalletti.

"Arsenal were different from what I saw in the last games. We played a good pace, running with intensity and they gave us a lot of difficulties.

"But we can create chances and I am sure it will be a completely different game in the second leg."

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see also
Arsenal 1-0 Roma
24 Feb 09 |  Europe
Fabregas set for return in April
21 Feb 09 |  Arsenal
Eduardo suffers new injury blow
19 Feb 09 |  Arsenal
Premier League v Serie A
21 Feb 09 |  Europe
Roma 3-1 Chelsea
04 Nov 08 |  Europe


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