Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Arsenal

Wenger shoulders the blame

April 25, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Arsene Wenger has accepted Arsenal have little chance of winning the title now as they sit nine points behind Manchester United with four games to play.

Arsene Wenger
GettyImagesArsene Wenger looks on with concern as Arsenal struggle against Bolton

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted his players lacked "maturity, experience and calm" but he stepped into the firing line after his side's 2-1 loss to Bolton, saying it is he who should be blamed.

Arsenal's already-slim chances of pushing for the Premier League title were reduced to a mere mathematical possibilty after Tamir Cohen headed a late winner at Reebok Stadium on Sunday, leaving the Gunners nine points behind Manchester United and three behind Chelsea with four games to play.

Wenger conceded ground in the ongoing debate over his youthful squad's mentality but he still refused to criticse them publicly, defending them to the point of sacrificing his own reputation by claiming he is at fault for the side's poor run in recent months.

Wenger said: "I feel the players have had an outstanding attitude this season. They are not to blame. If somebody is to blame, it's me. I pick the team.

"It's very unsatisfactory because it's one of the easiest run-ins we've had for a long time and we didn't take our chances many times. That's frustrating because you feel the potential is there but you have to take your chances.

"We still lack maturity, experience and calm in important situations.''

Wenger said there was no point giving up hope in the final few games since Arsenal are in no other competitions but he admitted that the likelihood of reeling in United was approaching miracle territory.

"The chances are very minimal now, that is for sure, but we have to continue to fight,'' said Wenger. "We dropped too many points today. It is very frustrating because we should have come home with nine points this week and we came back with two. It's a bit the story of our season.''