Arsene Wenger hails Arsenal's 'remarkable turnaround'

 

Arsene Wenger has hailed the “remarkable turnaround” in Arsenal's fortunes as they close in on an automatic Champions League spot for next season.

The Gunners looked like also rans pre-Christmas with some sections of fans believing Wenger's 16-year spell at the club should be brought to an end.

But there has been a dramatic change since Arsenal trailed North London rivals Tottenham by eight points in the scrap for third place in the Barclays Premier League in early February.

Goals from Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Yossi Benayoun propelled Arsenal to a ninth win in 10 games via last night's 3-0 success over Wolves and five points clear of Spurs.

Wenger said: "Considering where we were before Christmas, we have improved a lot. Maybe it is the most remarkable turnaround I have seen here.

"But the spirit was always good and we have been very consistent for the past couple of months when we have shown a lot of quality as well."

Not that Wenger is getting carried away with Arsenal's prospects ahead of Monday's clash with Wigan, who caused one of the upsets of the season with last night's win over Manchester United.

He said: "We will be cautious because we have suffered a lot this year and I don't know how many points it will take to make sure (of a Champions League spot).

"Other teams have been where we are now and the situation has changed and maybe that will help us to keep our feet on the ground.

"All I will say is let's see where we are at the end of the season and I am just focusing on the next game.

"We know it will be another battle against Wigan, another team who are fighting not to go down like Wolves are and who had a great result against Manchester United."

Yossi Benayoun, who scored Arsenal's third goal at Molineux, echoed the sentiments of Wenger but is confident the Gunners will finish third.

The on-loan Chelsea midfielder said: "Five points is a big gap to have at this stage of the season but we have to keep playing well and win some more games.

"Next we have Wigan. They beat Manchester United so that is a warning for everyone.

"It will not be an easy game and after there is a game against Chelsea which I can't play in.

"There are still a few hard games but I am sure that in the end we will finish in the top three."

Robin van Persie scored his 34th goal of the campaign via an outrageous chip from the penalty spot to end a mini drought of four games.

Wenger said: "How Van Persie took the penalty was a surprise to me. I've never seen him doing that.

"He said to me it is just something that came in to his mind in the last seconds before he took it."

The Dutchman has equalled the Premier League record held by former Gunners player Ian Wright for scoring against the most teams - 17 - in a 38 game season.

Alan Shearer and Andy Cole were also on target against 17 different teams in the same season but the Premier League consisted of 22 teams when they achieved that feat.

PA

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor