Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: Premier League title race far from over

Published: Monday 7th March 2016 by The News Editor

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Arsene Wenger has refused to pin all of his trophy aspirations on the FA Cup and insists Arsenal are still in the race to win the Barclays Premier League title.

Following Saturday’s derby draw at Tottenham the Gunners are now eight points adrift of leaders Leicester with nine games remaining.

Despite being tipped for the title after a victory over Manchester City before Christmas, Wenger’s side are currently on a run of three wins in 12 games in all competitions.

They are on the brink of Champions League elimination after losing 2-0 at home to Barcelona and face an FA Cup fifth-round replay at Hull on Tuesday night having failed to knock the Sky Bet Championship side out at the Emirates last month.

Since that goalless draw against the Tigers on February 20, Arsenal have lost three of their four games as Saturday’s north London derby brought an end to a potentially damaging losing streak.

But Wenger believes his side are still challenging both Spurs and Leicester for the title and feels their two wins over the league-leading Foxes this season shows they have enough in their squad to close down the gap.

“You don’t think like that,” he said when asked whether the FA Cup is now Arsenal’s most realistic chance of silverware.

“The Premier League is far from being over. Just to remind you, we have beaten Leicester twice so we have done our job against them.

“People have to look at other teams more, not just us on that front. We will not give up the Premier League, we will fight until the end.”

Wenger has been batting away criticism from fans and pundits in recent weeks – with the likes of Graeme Souness, Thierry Henry and Paul Merson all having their say.

But he remains immune to such comments as he looks to continue the good work of the last 19 years having become the longest-serving manager in European football after Ronnie McFall ended his 29-year stint with Irish club Portadown over the weekend.

“I have always the same pressure which is the same pressure I apply to myself,” he said.

“It is the same. After that, people talk and you have more people talking than 20 years ago and more opinions. That doesn’t change the pressure. The real pressure comes from your desire to win the next game and that is the only one that matters really.

“I believe that opinions are opinions. I do my job and one day someone will replace me and will replace you. That is part of life and as long as you have done well, given your best and that is the quality of work people do.

“That is what I try to do. I try to do my best and leave this club in the best shape so the guy coming after me will have good potential to work with.”

A sixth-round clash at home to Watford awaits the winner of Tuesday’s replay, with Arsenal’s Premier League game against West Brom to be rescheduled if they advance.

Wenger is an advocate of the FA Cup and has seen his side win it in the last two years, but he is still likely to make changes against Steve Bruce’s Hull as his side face four games in the next 10 days.

“Look, we had no choice because the next round in the FA Cup is next Saturday,” he said of the replay being arranged for Tuesday.

“So we had to fit it in somewhere. Ideally it’s not the best position for us but I couldn’t see any other solution.

“I will have to (make changes) but I’m not so much concerned about replacing one player with another one. It’s more that I have to rotate a little bit and keep the right balance in the team.”

Published: Monday 7th March 2016 by The News Editor

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