Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal have to win all of their remaining games if they are to finish in the top four

'We have to win every game to have a chance to get in the top four,' said Wenger

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger has told his Arsenal players that they have to win all seven of their remaining Premier League matches if they are to finish in the top four this season.

Arsenal recorded their first win away from home in the league in over three months when they beat Middlesbrough 2-1 on Monday night, to cut the gap to fourth-placed Manchester City to seven points with a game in hand.

The north Londoners have a difficult run-in – with a tough trip to Tottenham Hotspur as well as home matches against Manchester United and Everton – but Wenger has insisted that his side cannot afford to drop any more points if they are to secure Champions League football for next season.

“For us, the clarity is there - we have to win every game to have a chance to get in the top four,” Wenger said, after he watched Arsenal edge to only their second league win since the start of February.

“I think it will make the team a bit more serene. You could see that on some occasions, we were a bit over-cautious tonight. Hopefully that will give us a bit more confidence.

“Mathematically it is still possible, even if it is difficult, but we have to give it a go.”

Wenger has urged his players to continue fighting (Getty)

Middlesbrough almost sprung a surprise when Alvaro Negredo cancelled out Alexis Sanchez's stunning 42nd-minute free-kick, with Daniel Ayala going close to putting his side in the lead with a close-range header moments later.

But Mesut Ozil's 71st-minute winner won all three points for Arsenal and validated Wenger’s decision to experiment with a new formation for the game – a 3-4-3 system similar to that used by Chelsea.


Ozil celebrates his winning goal against Middlesbrough (Getty)

When asked whether the tactical switch had worked as planned, Wenger replied: “Yes, it is the first time in 20 years. That shows you that even at my age, you can change.

“I felt we were recently a bit vulnerable defensively and I wanted a bit more reassurance to the team. Recently we have faced many direct games, and I thought before the game maybe they would play with [Rudy] Gestede and Negredo and go for a very direct game.

“That was the reason. It worked well in the first half. We didn't give any chances away, we were quite solid.”