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Arsene Wenger loses cool after Arsenal draw

Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas will be assessed before Wednesday's Barcelona clash

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's nerves frayed after seeing his men drop two points in a 1-1 draw at Birmingham.

The Frenchman, unhappy at Craig Gardner's challenge on Gunners skipper Cesc Fabregas, swore when interviewed.

"Am I suggesting there were a lot of bad tackles? Leave me alone with that," said Wenger after a bruising match.

Regarding Fabregas's chances of being fit for Wednesday's Champions League game against Barcelona, the Arsenal boss added: "We have to assess him."

This was Arsenal's first visit to St Andrews since Martin Taylor's tackle broke Eduardo's leg two years ago.

Wenger, who thought his side had again been the victims of bad tackling at St Andrews, was clearly ruffled in the post-match news conference.

mr arsenal

And when pushed further on the subject, he replied: "I can give you my opinion about our game but you always create this controversy."

Wenger was not happy with Gardner's challenge on Fabregas, adding: "It was a bad tackle, one more. He [Fabregas] got tackled at the knee, kicked just under the knee."

To add to Wenger and his team's frustration, the north Londoners were denied all three points in stoppage time as Kevin Phillips came of the bench to cancel out Samir Nasri's 81st-minute strike.

But counterpart Alex McLeish seemed to suggest that the visitors were giving as good as they got in the tackling stakes with Alex Song and Gael Clichy each receiving yellow cards before Gardner clattered into Fabregas from behind.

Wenger vows to fight on for title

McLeish commented: "The tackle by Craig on Fabregas was robust. I know what Arsene was getting at because if you follow through, even if you have got the ball, then at that speed you can hurt a player.

"But there were similar tackles by the Arsenal players and you have got to take it on the chin.

"I certainly don't think there is a big vendetta against Arsenal and people are not saying 'let's make bad tackles on them".

Wenger's latest outburst about the treatment of Arsenal's players follows a similar complaint after Aaron Ramsey suffered broken leg in a red card challenge by Stoke's Ryan Shawcross last month.

For Arsenal, the loss of two points was compounded by victories for leaders Manchester United and second-placed Chelsea, who are four and three points respectively clear of the third-placed Gunners.

"It is disappointing and a big blow to our title hopes because, in our position, we had to win all our games," reflected Wenger.

'Wonderful' display delights McLeish

"The pitch was difficult to play on but in the second half we were on top but then got caught at the end.

"Their goal was offside but in football you are never finished when two teams fight to the end and we had enough chances to have scored a second goal."

McLeish, meanwhile, felt his side deserved a draw and praised Phillips after the 36-year-old striker had scored the 250th goal of his career.

"We showed that never-say-die attitude and Kevin came up trumps again," the Birmingham boss said.

"We have been giving him a cameo role this season and it was the sort of goal he has been getting all his career and he is a great credit to his profession."

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see also
Saturday's football photos
27 Mar 10 |  Football
Saturday football as it happened
27 Mar 10 |  Football
Birmingham 1-1 Arsenal
27 Mar 10 |  Premier League
Ramsey has surgery on broken leg
28 Feb 10 |  Arsenal
Wenger retracts Taylor criticism
24 Feb 08 |  Premier League

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