Arsenal have point to prove says Wenger

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The Independent Football

Arsenal have a special point to prove when they attempt to delay Manchester United's Premier League championship party at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Manager Arsene Wenger told reporters his players, hurt by the manner of their 4-1 aggregate Champions League semi-final loss to United, are their equal in attack, if not defence, and would seek to prove it by delaying their hosts' celebrations.

United need a point from their last two games to equal Liverpool's record of 18 English titles.

"We will play for our pride and for respect for what we do from the people who love the game," said Wenger today.

"We said in January that we would do our utmost to the last day of the season and that is what we will do.

"It looks like Manchester United for the title now, but we can delay it."

Arsenal are 18 points behind the leaders in fourth place.

"We are playing for our future and for our pride and it is important we give them a top-class game," Wenger said. I believe in this team, in this group of players and I believe we are as good as them offensively.

"Look at the statistics. We have scored a similar number of goals but we have conceded more.

"We have conceded 36 goals and they have 24 - and they have scored 67 and we have 64, so offensively it is not much difference. But defensively, yes, there was a difference."

Arsenal will be without injured defenders William Gallas and Gael Clichy, goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and striker Eduardo for the match.

Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky returned to training on Thursday but would not be available until next season, Wenger said.

Asked about Arsenal's need to add strength and experience to the squad, the Frenchman said: "I believe every manager has the same problem, to manage within his own resources.

"I look now like I do not want to spend money, but I have nothing against spending money. I just feel we have a team who can be very competitive and we want, as always, to manage this club within its resources.

"I believe in this team and from what I have seen in this team, that makes me quite optimistic. These players have the quality to beat anybody else. If we can add one or two players with the resources we have, then we will do it."