LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said the title was Chelsea’s to lose after his side were outclassed 3-1 by the Premier League leaders at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Serving a touchline ban, Wenger watched form the stands as Marcos Alonso opened the scoring in the first half, outmuscling Hector Bellerin to head home the rebound after Diego Costa had struck the bar.
“At the moment they look confident, powerful, strong, they don’t concede goals,” Wenger told reporters when asked if Chelsea would now be champions.
“It’s theirs to lose, they’re in the best position. They don’t play in Europe, they can wait every week for the next game and prepare properly. They are in a very, very strong position.”
The Arsenal manager was angered by the opening goal and believed that Arsenal should have had a free kick, but he admitted his side were not good enough as they fell 12 points behind the leaders.
“Of course it was a foul, but he allowed the goal and after that it was much more difficult for us,” Wenger said.
“After that we’re 1-0 down and Chelsea is very strong at defending, very good at transitions and on the counter-attack, and we paid for that.”
Arsenal failed to deal with Chelsea’s incessant pressure, which forced them into simple mistakes.
“We’re maybe not good enough in possession to make our game more dangerous and we lost many balls in positions where you cannot afford to lose it when you play against a team that doesn’t want to attack,” Wenger said.
Wenger has one game to go of his four-match touchline ban handed down by the FA following an angry dispute with the fourth official during Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Burnley last month.
“It is very frustrating, because I cannot do my job the way I want to do it, but I have to pay for what I did and I accepted it, so I have to get on with it,” he said.
“It’s frustrating to watch from upstairs, you sit in the middle of people, they call on the phone, standing up, sitting down, but I don’t think that’s an explanation of our defeat today.” (Editing by Ed Osmond)