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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wenger urges calm heads

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged his players to remain calm in the Premier League run-in despite dramatically clawing back a ten point deficit on rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Four weeks ago the Gunners were outsiders in the football betting for a top four place and were facing the uncomfortable prospect of a 13 point gap between themselves and their near rivals when they went 2-0 down at home in the north London derby.

But their second half fight back and their 5-2 win is part of a remarkable upturn in football scores, with s six game winning streak that has not only seen them chase down that lead but overtake Tottenham and into third place – the final automatic Champions League position.

They are also six ahead of fifth placed Chelsea, meaning a top four place that seemed unlikely a few months ago is mostly definitely on.

They had to show all their battling qualities at Goodison Park on Wednesday against David Moyes’ ever resolute Everton side.

Thomas Vermaelen headed in Robin van Persie's corner after just eight minute to cap a fine start by the Gunners, but their failure to convert early pressure into more than one goal let the Toffees back into the game.

They can rightly feel aggrieved that Royston Drenthe’s goal was chalked off for offside, despite being comfortably behind two Arsenal defenders. But, buoyed by that stroke of luck, Arsenal dug in and held Everton at arm’s length to secure a valuable three points.

"We want to keep going and we must not think now that the most difficult thing is done," Wenger said after the game.

"Probably the most difficult thing still remains to do, and to achieve it it is important we keep humility, focus and fight for each other - that is what we had to do here [against Everton]."

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