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Wenger hails ´top class´ Koscielny

23 September 2012 21:56

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed Laurent Koscielny after the defender's late striker earned them a point away against Manchester City.

The 27-year-old deputised for Thomas Vermaelen after the captain was struck down by illness, and fired home an equaliser from inside the box after first-half goalscorer Joleon Lescott failed to clear a corner.

And Wenger labelled Koscielny as 'top class' and admits the form of his three central defenders makes continual chopping and changing tough to justify.

"I have no worries for Koscielny, he is top class defender," he told Sky Sports.

"We three top class central defenders and we will rotate them a little bit. It's very, very difficult to put any hierarchy in there but all of the three are top class."

The Arsenal boss said he was torn between frustration at wanting to win the match and relief at not losing it, being wary of the threat City hold on the counter-attack.

"We are on one side happy because we didn't lose the game after being 1-0 down," he added.

"On the other side a bit frustrated because we felt we had the chances early on and then late in the game, that's when you want to take them. But overall you can see that we are a team and that we are strong."

Opposition manager Roberto Mancini talked up Arsenal as realistic title contenders ahead of Sunday's game, and Wenger has admitted that his squad 'believe' they are in with a chance know are aware of the tough task ahead.

"We believe it, but it's down to consistency," Wenger said.

"What happened today should strengthen our belief, but we are not the perfect team yet, we have still room for improvement. If we keep the focus on that we have a chance."

Mancini rued his side's lack of concentration late, as they dropped two points at home.

Mancini felt that his side let themselves down with their inability to kill the game off.

"I'm disappointed because we were 1-0 up and we conceded a goal from a corner," the Italian told Sky Sports.

"After that we had four or five chances to score a second goal but we didn't close the game.

"We need to pay more attention. it was strange, with just eight minutes to go our concentration should be 100 per cent."

After wrestling control of the game off a lively Arsenal side in the second half, City had several chances to add to their tally; with Sergio Aguero going close on more than one occasion and Vincent Kompany unlucky with an improvised bicycle kick.

"We had the game under control," Mancini said.

"It was just the last 10 minutes. I'm not sure why. We were too deep. We had chances to score.

"It's difficult as we now have two points less."

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 0 +0 0
2 0 +0 0
3 0 +0 0
4 0 +0 0
5 0 +0 0
6 0 +0 0
7 0 +0 0
8 0 +0 0
9 0 +0 0
10 0 +0 0
11 0 +0 0
12 0 +0 0
13 0 +0 0
14 0 +0 0
15 0 +0 0
16 0 +0 0
17 0 +0 0
18 0 +0 0
19 0 +0 0
20 0 +0 0

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