Wenger positive after costly draw

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted his team's 2-2 draw at West Brom was two points dropped in the Barclays Premier League title race - but insisted it was an important one gained for the players psychologically.

The Gunners managed to stage a comeback with goals in the 70th minute from Andrey Arshavin and 78th from Robin van Persie, but they were unable to notch a third before the final whistle. Peter Odemwingie capitalised on a mix-up between Manuel Almunia and Sebastien Squillaci to put West Brom 2-0 up after Steven Reid's opener.

"The pitch was very difficult for us and it was difficult to pass at top speed, so it was almost more down to character and resilience - and we have shown plenty," Wenger said. "Mathematically we lost two points, but psychologically I think we won a point, because when you are 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go, you cannot be too unhappy."

Arsenal went into the clash looking to keep the pressure on league leaders Manchester United, who they trailed by three points with a game in hand.

With United beating Bolton 1-0, Wenger's side are now five points off the top, but the Frenchman had spoken ahead of the Hawthorns contest about the need for "mental toughness" in the Gunners camp and in that respect, he felt it was vital the game was not lost.

Wenger added: "I said that no matter happene it would not be over, but for the team it was important not to lose. With what has happened to us recently, you wonder how we would have recovered if we had lost the game."

Albion boss Roy Hodgson also seemed to be in two minds about the result.

"We are upset we couldn't hang on because it was a sterling effort by the players, but we were playing against a very good team," Hodgson said.

"With the questions they ask of you in terms of defensive organisation, you are always going to be hard pressed not to concede a goal.

"It is disappointing to be 2-0 up and not get a victory, but on the other hand, it would be wrong of me to suggest that Arsenal got anything from this game they didn't deserve."

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Robin Van Persie
West Bromwich Albion
Andrey Arshavin
Sebastien Squillaci
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Manuel Almunia
Manchester United
Steven Reid
Peter Odemwingie

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