Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Persie admits he was ‘a little bit offside’

Robin van Persie has sensationally admitted that his controversial first goal at Stamford Bridge at the weekend was “a little bit offside”, but claims it was justice for a goal he had disallowed against Chelsea three seasons ago.
With Arsenal a goal down before half-time, Van Persie has defended his equalising effort, and said: “I scored a goal against Chelsea (Dec 2005). I was onside but the ref gave it offside and it didn’t count. “Today was maybe a little bit of offside but it counted and that’s all that matters.”
Luiz Felipe Scolari reacted angrily towards referee Mike Dean’s decision, and demanded that he issue an apology. Incensed as he was, the Chelsea manager is now facing consequences with the FA for publicly criticising the officials.
Meanwhile, Arsenal managaer Arsene Wenger, has promised that his team will return to training with “humility” after their win against Chelsea with a determination to ensure that it does not prove to be another false dawn.
Arsenal followed up a victory over Manchester United with defeats against Aston Villa and Manchester City, with Wenger acutely aware of the need to develop consistency if his team are to have any chance of maintaining a challenge for the Premier League title.
“We’ve beaten Manchester United in a convincing way and Chelsea,” he said. “I have an intelligent team, a talented one, but we want to come back with humility. We’ve learnt we need that kind of focus in every game. “It is true that we have more regrets [after losing recent games], but as well it shows we have the level needed to be there. It’s down to our desire to win now in the coming months. We have been disturbed by injuries as well, with nine players out. That’s too many.
I believe as well it’s part of a learning process. To learn to win when you’re not completely on the edge.
You know that you will not every week be exactly in the same kind of mind and United and Chelsea will not be either. You have to find the resources to win every type of game. If you just turn up it’s not good enough.”
Wenger made two key tactical changes for the victory over Chelsea, partnering William Gallas with Johan Djourou in defence and Alex Song with Cesc Fabregas in central midfield. Emmanuel Adebayor also returned in attack.
Wenger indicated that the intention had been to add some physical strength to the spine of his team, with both Arsenal goals following aerial balls. “Song as well in midfield gives us some stature to defend in the air,” he said. “We’re a bit stronger in the duels and in the air as well. We felt it was dangerous in the first half, too. Adebayor can win in the air against anybody.
“It looked like we could be dangerous if we maintained a high pace. We had to get closer to their midfield. We gave them too much freedom in the middle of the park in the first half.”

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