Premier League: Jack Wilshere insists Arsenal are not out of title race
Jack Wilshere insists Arsenal are by no means out of the title race, with games against Chelsea and Man City to come.
Last Updated: 02/03/14 5:16pm
The Gunners went down to a 1-0 Premier League defeat at Stoke on Saturday, with Jon Walters scoring the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 76th minute.
Wilshere admitted he and his team-mates could have few complaints after failing to seriously test Potters goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, particularly in the first half at the Britannia Stadium.
"We have to be prepared for it," Wilshere told Sky Sports afterwards. "We know what to expect when we come here, it's going to be a tough game, we have to fight and win second balls and then we have to take the opportunities when they come.
"We didn't do that today. We had a few chances in the first half and we didn't take them, and you're going to get punished here.
"We weren't at our best. Sometimes in these type of games you don't have to be.
"I think we did enough to win the game. We had a few chances in the first half where, if we put them away, we go in one up at half-time and it's a different game. We can try and see the game out but instead we're searching for a goal, they're searching for a goal... it was an open game, and we're disappointed."
Wilshere had sympathy for Laurent Koscielny on the crucial penalty decision, but also for referee Mike Jones, who ruled the Gunners defender had handled Walters' flick.
"It was a difficult decision," he added. "The ref has to make these big decisions, it was a tough call for him... if you look at it again, from my perspective when you jump towards the ball, your hands go up naturally. But the ref gave it and we have to deal with that.
"We still had a chance at the end to make it 1-1 but we didn't take it. We're disappointed, but we'll regroup and we'll go again."
Following the FA Cup quarter-final tie at home to Everton, Arsenal's next league game is away to north London rivals Tottenham on March 16 and they then head to Chelsea on March 22. The month ends with the home game against Manchester City.
When asked if Chelsea's four-point lead was hard to make up, Wilshere said: "The good thing is, this month, we play them. We play all the teams at the top so that's a good thing and if we win those games, we're going to be up there.
"We have to keep going until the end. Anything can happen as you've seen today and in previous weeks."