Wenger: Arsenal lucky to avoid defeat

LONDON - Arsene Wenger said his Arsenal side were lucky to escape with a 2-2 draw at home to Everton in the Premier League on Saturday after twice coming from behind.

"We didn't create many chances and scored two goals from deflections. We are lucky at the moment but I like to think that is because we are showing the right spirit," said Wenger.

"We dropped two points yes, but we gained a point as were closer to losing than winning," he told reporters after substitute Tomas Rosicky struck a stoppage time equaliser.

Having slipped 11 points off the pace when they lost 3-0 at home to Chelsea five weeks ago, Arsenal have had an impressive run and are now just three points behind the leaders.

But they were pushed all the way by an Everton side in which Marouane Fellaini squeezed the life out of the Arsenal midfield while Steven Pienaar scored a contender for goal of the season.

The South African's 81st-minute effort looked to have given Everton revenge for a 6-1 home thrashing on the first day of the season until Rosicky's fortunate late strike.

"We played against a very good Everton team who were more dangerous and sharper than us for the bigger part of the game," said Wenger. "We didn't find our game today.

"We had the spirit but we didn't produce the quality we're used to. We had some problems technically as Everton stopped us... playing in midfield."

Such was the quality of Everton's display against an Arsenal team that had won four and drawn one of their last five league games that manager David Moyes was disappointed with the draw.


"I thought we deserved three points so to come away with one... we have to be more ruthless," he told reporters.

He picked out Fellaini for special praise. "He is arguably the best midfielder in the Premier League at the moment and there are some good ones," Moyes said of the big-haired Belgian.

Pienaar almost matched his team mate for work rate as Everton battled through the snow and Arctic wind in north London and he capped his performance with a sublime goal.

"If that was (former Arsenal players Thierry) Henry or (Dennis) Bergkamp you boys would be writing about it for days -- it was a terrific finish," Moyes said.

Had substitute James Vaughan repeated it a few minutes later instead of shooting at Almunia, Everton would almost certainly have travelled home with all the points.

"We had the chance to go 3-1 up and the boys are annoyed that we were not ruthless enough. With their goals, too, we sort of dabbled a foot, didn't really tackle.

"But the performance was terrific. We had as much possession as Arsenal, especially in the first half, and this is a team who are back in the championship race."

Arsenal midfielder Denilson, whose shot cancelled out Leon Osman's early header, left the action late in the game after collapsing to the ground holding his back.

"Denilson is a bit mysterious," Wenger said of the Brazilian. "He can walk around... it might be an intercostal (rib-related) problem but it might be a deeper problem."