Gervinho says Arsenal are 'happy' to be in third-place

 

Gervinho maintains everyone at Arsenal should be proud if the Gunners end a testing campaign in the Barclays Premier League with third place to show for their efforts.

The Gunners, who appear set to be without midfielder Mikel Arteta for their final four matches because of an ankle injury, host Chelsea on Saturday aiming to bounce back from the disappointment of Monday night's shock 2-1 home defeat by Wigan.

Arsenal are currently five points ahead of fourth-placed Tottenham and Newcastle, and some seven in front of the Blues, albeit having now played a match more.

While it has been a remarkable turnaround by Arsene Wenger to guide his men back into Champions League contention following an appalling start, which saw them slump down as low as 17th place, qualification for next season's elite European competition is far from guaranteed.

Indeed, should Chelsea, who last night won the first leg of their semi-final against Barcelona 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, go on to win the competition in Munich next month but fail to finish in at least fourth place, then they would take the spot in next season's group stages and consign their rivals to the Europa League.

Ivory Coast forward Gervinho, however, insists the Gunners are fully focused on delivering the required performances over the closing four games to make that possibility irrelevant.

"We want to be among the top three. The whole group is very motivated and we are already happy to be where we are," Gervinho told Arsenal Player.

"We can still do better with the four matches coming. We are fighting only for third place, we don't think about fourth spot.

"Everybody is determined to fight until the end, from the players and the manager to the fans, to maintain third place.

"If we manage to keep it then everybody should be proud because we fought very hard for it."

Gervinho, a £10.5million summer signing from French side Lille, added: "It is true that I am disappointed to see another year without a trophy.

"I am used to getting trophies, but we tried and we went through a lot this year.

"We are happy to have reached that level. I hope next year we will do even better."

A run of nine wins from 11, including seven successive victories, saw the Gunners overhaul Spurs, Chelsea and Newcastle.

Gervinho believes the squad were spurred on by those who claimed Wenger's men were now a spent force.

"We learnt a lot from the negative start we had. It has made us stronger. We learnt a lot during that struggle," he said.

"In life you will always be criticised.

"We had to prove to the people who didn't believe in us that we were able to come back by playing well on the pitch.

"The result is here today. Our progression during the season speaks for itself on the pitch."

Wenger also feels if, for nothing else, the group deserve credit for the way they found consistency from such a testing spell.

"After losing four games in the first seven, to be where we are today is a remarkable achievement," he said.

"Now our target must be to better what we did last season.

"A strong finish will be important for that reason, and also to give us the belief to enter 2012/2013 with confidence."

Wenger admitted on Monday night he feared Arteta's injury was "quite a serious one".

It is understood while scans revealed no break, ligament damage means the Spanish midfielder will need several weeks of recovery.

Yossi Benayoun, on loan from Chelsea, is ineligible to play against his parent club this weekend, so Aaron Ramsey or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could start in midfield.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot