Arsene Wenger described Arsenal’s dramatic comeback against Bournemouth as a physical and mental test, while he insisted the Londoners are not thinking about the Premier League title.
Arsenal produced a stunning fightback on Tuesday, overcoming a three-goal deficit to earn a 3-3 draw at Bournemouth thanks to Olivier Giroud’s stoppage-time equaliser in a result which could keep the team’s title hopes alive.
Wenger’s men trailed 3-0 with 20 minutes remaining until Alexis Sanchez breathed life back into Arsenal, before substitute Lucas Perez pulled another goal back and in-form striker Giroud struck in the second minute of additional time to snatch a point.
While lamenting the congested festive fixture list, manager Wenger hailed Arsenal for the resilience shown at Vitality Stadium.
“It was a physical test and a mental test for us. A physical test because we had problems to start to cope with the pace of Bournemouth,” Wenger told reporters.
“Defensively we had some problems and I think you have to acknowledge the quality of Bournemouth – congratulations to them. But as well, it’s too uneven to have only two days to play against a team with over three days rest. It took us a while to get back into the game.
“On top of that, we were a bit unlucky as well – to concede a penalty and after the third goal, for us, with 70 minutes played we were 3-0 down. So it was a mental test, but we succeeded because we have a great resilience in the team and great mental strength and that came out. In the end you are even frustrated not to win the game.
“We missed some opportunities in the end. A corner into the hands of the goalkeeper, instead of taking an in-swinger we should’ve taken an out-swinger, these are the details that you have to keep composure and play until the last minute. That’s down to keeping your head cool.”
The draw left Arsenal fourth in the table and eight points adrift of leaders Chelsea, who could extend their advantage with victory at London rivals Tottenham on Wednesday.
Asked about Arsenal’s title chances, Wenger said: “We don’t really speak about us and we do not look around us at the moment.
“Your team is doing well but you can still lose it, so it’s just down to the other teams to continue to fight.”