Win five out of six for a tilt at the title, Wenger tells team
Saturday 05 April 2008
Part two of the three-match epic against Liverpool today and Arsène Wenger said that he still believes his Arsenal team can win the Premier League title. All they have to do is win five of their last six games – just as long as one of those is over Manchester United at Old Trafford a week tomorrow.
The Arsenal manager seemed unperturbed by the disappointment of the 1-1 Champions League draw on Wednesday and the news that Robin van Persie will miss today's match through injury. After only one win in six Premier League games, Wenger said that today he believed his side would face a weakened Liverpool team which he believed might not even feature Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.
There could be a start for Arsenal's Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Adebayor has been passed fit after suffering an injury on Wednesday. Wenger said that his team would take inspiration from Arsenal's late title charge in May 1998 when they came from behind to snatch the trophy from Manchester United by one point.
"We have to win all our games – five wins is a minimum and a draw but that means we would have to win at Old Trafford," Wenger said. "Six wins would be better. I do believe United will drop points – they play four times away from home. It depends on how the games go and how much effort the teams put in but no win is guaranteed in the Premier League.
"I believe we can still win the title but I believe this is special circumstances. Why? Manchester United are an excellent team but they can still lose points and they have hard games against us and Chelsea. Everything is still possible, of course. But the main thing for us is to win our games."
While he has changes of his own to make, Liverpool could afford to rest players, Wenger said, in preparation for the second leg of the Champions League tie at Anfield. The Frenchman must weigh up whether to play Cesc Fabregas, who will miss the visit to Old Trafford next week if he is booked today.
"I would love to put some more pressure on Manchester United," Wenger said. "I feel it's very important to win our game first and therefore we need to be at our best. We have scored fewer goals recently and been slightly more unlucky recently.
"The luck has been against us and the form has dropped a bit. But since the beginning of the season, we have lost two games and nobody can deny we have been consistent. We are now in the final sprint which will define and decide our season.
"I will pick a team which can win the game. I feel we have a good chance in the Premier League and do not want to miss that. It is important to win because of the situation in the Premier League. It would have a double impact – one for the Premier League and one for the Champions League. But my worry at the moment is the Premier League."
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