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Arsenal boss Wenger confident of new challenge

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says his squad only needs minor surgery to make up the difference with champions Manchester United.

A youthful Arsenal side left Sunderland with all three points courtesy of Theo Walcott's 24th-minute strike, although they could have been made to pay for missed chances had substitute Roy O'Donovan not shot straight at goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in injury time.

Wenger said: "You have to be reasonable. When you get 83 points and you call that failure, what would the other teams say?

"I feel quality-wise we have been remarkable the whole season. I have never had a team that has consistently produced quality games like this team. We lost a 100 metres (race) by a fraction of a second. We were on the same line and somebody has put their chest in front of us just at the end. It doesn't mean we have not made a good 100m. To have a great 100m, you need three or four who compete for the final place.

"This year, the Premier League, for maybe the first time in the last four or five years, was exciting until the last day of the season, and we have contributed to that."

Wenger pointed to United's strength at Old Trafford as a major factor in their latest triumph.

He said: "It is respectable, 83 points, I have won championships with less. But it highlights as well the level of the competition, the required amount of points needed this year because there was very little difference between the three teams who fought for the championship.

"Any little weakness and you were punished because Manchester United finished with 87, Chelsea 85 and we finished with 83. Where Manchester United made the difference was at home. They took similar points to us away from home and fewer than Chelsea, but at home, they had 17 victories.

"At Old Trafford, they have an advantage and they use that advantage."

Opposite number Roy Keane was able to reflect upon the season with a measure of satisfaction after his gut feeling at the start of it proved accurate.

He said: "It has panned out the way I thought it would, I have to say.

"We have finished 15th in the table and I have to say we are probably the 15th best team.

"Manchester United have been the best and the three worst teams have gone down. That's why I have always felt deep down that we would be fine. But you need those points on the board to make sure you are fine."

Meanwhile, Keane confirmed that striker Kenwyne Jones chipped a bone in his wrist after being hit by a Gilberto shot late in the first half.

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