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06 October 2016

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03/01/2017 - 22:55 BST

Big Teams Have Dropped Points Here – Arsene Wenger Hails Mental Strength As Arsenal Draw At Bournemouth


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists he must recognise the mental strength his side showed to come from 3-0 down to snatch a 3-3 draw against Bournemouth at Dean Court.

The Gunners headed into the game looking to close the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea and apply extra pressure ahead of the Blues' visit to White Hart Lane to play Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening.

But Bournemouth started with high intensity and energy which Arsenal could not match and took the lead through Charlie Daniels in the 16th minute after he got the better of Hector Bellerin and beat Petr Cech in the Gunners goal.

The hosts were awarded a penalty just four minutes later and Callum Wilson made no mistake, doubling their lead, before Ryan Fraser appeared to have killed off Arsenal by grabbing Bournemouth's third just before the hour mark when he outmuscled Bellerin, cut in and hit his shot through Cech's legs.

Arsenal fought back however and scored through Alexis Sanchez in the 70th minute, while the comeback was then truly on when Lucas Perez, on off the bench, picked his spot with a volley across goal.

Bournemouth had Simon Francis sent off with eight minutes to go, before Olivier Giroud flicked a header in in injury time to make it 3-3.

Wenger was unhappy at his side dropping two points, but insists he must salute their mental strength to refuse to lose and take something from the game.

The Frenchman also noted big teams have slipped up at Dean Court; Liverpool recently lost at the ground, while Tottenham Hotspur were held to a draw.

He told the BBC: "
At the start we suffered from the quality of Bournemouth.

"One team had over three days to recover and on top of that we suffered at the back.

"It was a physical test but we came back into the game and mentally it was a test and we showed we are mentally strong.

"I am happy to play every day but only if our opponent has done the same", Wenger continued, in a nod to Arsenal having played on 1st January while Bournemouth were last in action on 31st December.

"We want to win the game and we wanted three points but on the other hand some big teams have dropped points here and when you’re 3-0 down you have to acknowledge the quality of the response of your team.

"I have mixed feelings but I must recognise my team has shown great mental strength", he added.