x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

If Arsenal are consistent anything is possible says joyous Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager labels his team's come-from-behind Premier League win over north London rivals Tottenham "exceptional".

Robin van Persie, right, in action scored for Arsenal on Sunday.
Robin van Persie, right, in action scored for Arsenal on Sunday.

Arsene Wenger hailed Arsenal's "exceptional" comeback as they recovered from a two-goal deficit to thrash north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 at the Emirates Stadium.

The win moved Arsenal back into the top four, seven points behind Spurs in third.

Tottenham had looked set for victory as early as the fourth minute when Louis Saha's shot deflected off Thomas Vermaelen and looped in.

Harry Redknapp's side doubled their advantage in the 34th minute when Gareth Bale was bundled over in the box by Kieren Gibbs and the goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Emmanuel Adebayor, the former Arsenal striker, slotted home the resulting penalty on his 28th birthday.

However, the Gunners went in level at half time when Robin van Persie fired home three minutes after Bacary Sagna had pulled one back with a well-guided header just beyond Brad Friedel's reach.

Arsenal continued in the same vein after the break and took the lead through Tomas Rosicky six minutes into the second half when the Czech midfielder got to Theo Walcott's deflected cross ahead of both Ledley King and Friedel.

Walcott's brace wrapped up the resounding victory and to make matters worse for Tottenham, the influential midfielder Scott Parker was sent off late on for a second bookable offence.

"It was a performance full of everything you want from your team," Wenger told Sky Sports News. "It had team spirit, technique, resilience. It was an exciting game, we had a difficult start but kept going and showed great character again today.

"When you're 2-0 down against a team in front of you with the quality they have, you need something exceptional. We refused to lose today, we kept going and in the end I think we had too much quality and drive."

Asked if it is still a foregone conclusion that Spurs will finish ahead of them in the league, Wenger said: "I don't think so. Mathematically we can come back. If we're consistent, anything is possible."

Redknapp said: "Even at 2-0 I couldn't say I felt over-comfortable.

"I wanted to get to half time [at 2-0] but I felt they were creating chances and we looked a bit open really. It was a difficult one. I felt at half time I needed to try to thicken us up a little bit.

"That should have happened, but didn't. We didn't defend well. It was basic, really."