Finishing above Tottenham is main target says Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

 

Wojciech Szczesny is convinced that Arsenal will finish above Tottenham this season despite losing further ground on their bitter north London rivals with defeat at Manchester City yesterday.

Although a 1-0 loss at the home of the league leaders was nothing to be ashamed of, the reverse meant Arsenal now trail Spurs by five points having played one more game.

A spate of defensive injuries for Arsene Wenger's men, as well as a 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane earlier this season, has given further hope to Spurs fans that their team will finish higher than Arsenal for the first time since 1995.

Harry Redknapp's men have lost just once in their last 13 Barclays Premier League matches, but Szczesny is convinced that Spurs will drop points soon and is determined to ensure that Arsenal will be finish above them come the end of the current campaign.

"Getting above Tottenham is the main target," Szczesny said in the London Evening Standard.

"We don't want to finish below them no matter what.

"That's just my personal ambition because I am one of the fans and so it means a lot to me to finish above them. I am confident we will do so.

"They will slip up eventually. They have been in good form - you have to give it to them - but I am confident we are a better side and will finish above them. Time will tell if they can handle the pressure but they look good at the moment. Hopefully they will drop points in the second half of the season."

A David Silva goal was enough to see the Gunners off at the Etihad Stadium yesterday, although Wenger felt aggrieved that Robin van Persie had a goal ruled out for offside in the second half.

The defeat left the Gunners 12 points behind City in the table and caused Wenger to all but write off his team's chances of winning the title.

Szczesny has refused to give up all hope, though.

"I don't think there is a big gap between the teams in terms of quality," Szczesny said.

"They just got the winning goal and that was the difference. But we showed that we are just as good as the richest team and possibly, at the moment, the best team in the league, so that gives us confidence we can beat everyone else.

"They will drop points. They lost against Chelsea, who are a good side, and they seemed to have got their confidence back. We are confident, playing well while they are on top of the league but United are catching up. Everyone can win it still.

"It is too big a gap but we hope we can make it smaller and then we can talk about challenging for the title. We are confident going into the Christmas period that we can get the results."

To make matters worse for Wenger, he now only has four fit recognised defenders to choose from for Wednesday's game against Aston Villa.

Johan Djourou joined Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna, Carl Jenkinson and Andre Santos on the Gunners' injury list after coming off with a groin injury that will rule him out for three weeks.

Ignasi Miquel, 19, could be drafted in to one of the full-back positions, with either Thomas Vermaelen or Laurent Koscielny filling on the other side.

Vermaelen, who came close to scoring two stunning goals yesterday, has called on his team-mates to bounce back with a win at Villa Park.

"Every game is important now," the Belgian told Arsenal's website.

"On Wednesday we play Villa away. It will not be an easy game but it's good that we have a game so early so we can make up for the loss against City."

PA

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