Football

Wenger praises comeback Gunners

Arsenal boss Wenger praises his players for their resilience in dramatic fightback

Arsenal staged a sensational fightback from three goals down as Olivier Giroud's last-gasp equaliser rescued a dramatic 3-3 draw at Bournemouth yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Even though the draw didn't do the Gunners' title hopes any good, manager Arsene Wenger could draw comfort from his side's determination in the final half-hour.

He described the game as a test of their resolve, and said that it was one which they passed.

"We refused to lose the game. It was a mental test," Wenger said.

"There's a great resilience in the team and we saw that today.

"It was not a result we wanted before the game but, at 3-0 down, we'd have signed for 3-3."

He also pointed out that Bournemouth were not easy meat, as shown in their solid form this season.

He said: "We wanted to win the game and we wanted three points, but on the other hand, some big teams have dropped points here.

"We had to cope with the pace of Bournemouth, who scored four against Liverpool here.

"But when you're 3-0 down, you have to acknowledge the quality of the response of your team."

STUNNING

Arsenal were facing their first defeat by Bournemouth after goals from Charlie Daniels, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser stunned the Gunners at Dean Court.

But the Gunners scored three times in the last 20 minutes as Alexis Sanchez and Lucas Perez netted, before Bournemouth captain Simon Francis was sent off, setting the stage for Giroud's headed equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time.

The result left the Gunners in fourth place, eight points behind leaders Chelsea, although the Blues could extend the lead after their game against Tottenham this morning.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was left ruing a missed opportunity to claim a big win.

And he insisted that Francis should not have been sent off.

He said: "The red card definitely didn't help; whether it was the defining factor I'm not sure...

"I don't think it was a red card. I think it's probably a foul but I don't think he's lifted his studs in a dangerous way, so I think it's a harsh decision."

Bournemouth confirmed last night that they will be appealing Francis' red card.

Howe added: "The draw is a real shame because the players gave absolutely everything today. They should be congratulating each other, but are obviously frustrated too.

"Ultimately, we have to acknowledge what is a big point for the team." - WIRE SERVICES

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