Arsenal show appetite for a title fight


And Wenger slams Abramovich spending spree

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger poured scorn on big-spending Chelsea’s disregard for looming financial fair play rules after seeing his team give the strongest indication yet that they have the stomach for a title challenge.

Andrey Arshavin and Laurent Koscielny both scored in five second-half minutes as the Gunners overcame going behind to an offside Louis Saha strike to stay five points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester United.

Saha’s goal sparked furious protests from Wenger and his players, and Everton boss David Moyes later accused Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas of making comments to officials at half-time which warranted a red card.

Wenger, meanwhile, when asked about Monday’s frantic transfer activity, questioned Chelsea’s desire to meet imminent European rules requiring clubs to break even after they spent £75m on Fernando Torres and David Luiz on the day they posted a huge loss.

He said: “Chelsea supported financial fair play but in the morning they announce a £70m loss and in the afternoon they buy £75m of players. Where is the logic in that? It’s very difficult to guess.”

Wenger predicted the Blues’ deadline-day spree would be followed in the summer by more expensive signings and insisted the club’s owner Roman Abramovich had answered questions about his commitment.

“He has decided to put big money in the game and that tells you certainly in the summer more will come,” he added.

Moyes, meanwhile, was scathing of Fabregas’s conduct towards officials in the tunnel, saying: “If he’d said that on the pitch he’d have been off like that, so what’s the difference?” Wenger denied his skipper had spoken to referee Lee Mason at half-time.

The Gunners chief was effusive about his side’s fighting spirit, a trait they have been accused of lacking in the past, as they kept United in their sights despite conceding a 25th-minute goal both managers agreed should not have stood.

Diligent Everton denied Arsenal until the 70th minute, when Arshavin tucked a cool volley past Tim Howard following a lofted pass from Fabregas. Defender Koscielny completed the comeback moments later, heading home from a Robin van Persie corner.