The Gunners produced a largely lacklustre display as they failed to break down the determined visitors before eventually falling behind to a second-half own-goal from centre-back Thomas Vermaelen.

Although the Belgian redeemed himself with a close-range header to equalise, Wenger's squad were unable to make their late pressure tell.

Despite missing the chance to keep in touch with the top four and record a sixth-straight Premier League win, the Arsenal manager does not want to read too much into the result that followed what was an intense midweek Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund, which sealed a place in the last 16.

Wenger said: "You have to accept that football is played by human beings and even if you prepare well you can be a bit less sharp.

"You can drop points against anybody in the Premier League.

"If you look at the team-sheet of Fulham, they are all international players in there, good players.

"It is not a shame that you can concede a goal against them."

Arsenal, who dedicated Saturday's match to the Save the Children charity, had started well enough - with England winger Theo Walcott a constant threat down the right.

However, the Gunners failed to find a telling pass to covert that pressure to goals.

When Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer - once a target for the Gunners - was beaten by Van Persie's low drive, Chris Baird was on the line to clear.

unbeaten run

The hosts were then caught out on 65 minutes when Vermaelen diverted the ball past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after John Arne Riise had latched onto Danny Murphy's deep chip through the Arsenal penalty area.

Schwarzer clawed away a goal-bound header from Johan Djourou before Vermaelen arrived on queue in the Fulham six-yard box to glance in Walcott's cross.

Substitute Gervinho and then Walcott produced tame finishes straight at the keeper after weaving into the penalty area, with Van Persie for once missing his golden touch when drilling into the side netting having been played through the right channel.

"You have to give credit to Fulham, they defended well and their goalkeeper played well," said Wenger, who admits he will have to rest some of his jaded key men for next week's Carling Cup quarter-final against Manchester City.

"They saved the ball on the line - it happens only to us that the defenders play behind the goalkeepers.

"It happened at Norwich [last week] and against Fulham, but you have to give them credit.

"They are in a position where they need points and you can understand that.

"Overall if you look back at where we came from we have a long unbeaten run and of course we are disappointed because we dropped two points, but I feel we are in a way of improvement and hopefully we can show that again Tuesday night."