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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...