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Wenger predicts more shocks to come


Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes this season's Barclays Premier League title contenders will continue to drop points because they are no longer able to overwhelm the also-rans.

With almost a third of the campaign gone there is a congested look to the top flight, with those challenging at the summit all having suffered surprise setbacks. Wenger's Arsenal have been no exception, with their latest shock result coming in Sunday's 1-0 home defeat to promoted Newcastle.

The Gunners boss reckons the current trend is down to the so-called lesser clubs learning to maintain a high intensity for 90 minutes, telling Arsenal TV Online: "The level has gone up and I think the physical resistance of the teams who are a bit less good technically has become stronger. All the teams in the Premier League can remain disciplined for 90 minutes."

Wenger claims the involvement of the top clubs in European competition is also a factor.

"I think it's going to continue because many teams have no real European cups in the week so can prepare fully," he said. "The demands on the teams in Europe are very high and the level of the less prestigious teams in the Premier League has gone up, so I believe everybody will drop points."

That could make for an open title race, according to Wenger, who added: "Everybody else looks to be fighting and even Chelsea look like they will drop points."

Sunday was the second time Arsenal have failed to capitalise on a Chelsea slip-up this season, with the Blues going down 2-0 at Liverpool shortly after the Gunners were beaten by Newcastle. September saw Chelsea lose at Manchester City, only for Arsenal to suffer a shock home defeat to West Brom.

With both playing again on Wednesday nigth, Wenger knows his side cannot afford to let the champions off the hook again. Arsenal travel to Wolves, while Chelsea host Fulham in the west London derby.

Wenger is expecting a tough test at Molineux, where the Gunners won 4-1 last season before needing a stoppage-time goal to clinch the reverse fixture. Wolves have also impressed during what has been a nightmare recent run of league and cup fixtures, including two trips to Manchester United, one to Chelsea and a home game against Manchester City.

Wenger said: "They are a robust side and they are technically good as well if you look at their passing ability. Against Manchester City and Manchester United, their passing was level with the better sides."