Arsene Wenger calls for Arsenal to stand 'strong together' in their hunt for a Champions League place

The Gunners could yet sneak a top-four place from under the noses of Liverpool

Jack Austin@jackaustin_1
Friday 12 May 2017 23:36
The Gunners face an uphill task to usurp Liverpool and secure Champions League football
The Gunners face an uphill task to usurp Liverpool and secure Champions League football

The UK general election is apparently not something that has escaped Arsene Wenger’s meticulous attention to detail as he echoed Theresa May’s Tory rhetoric in urging Arsenal to remain ‘strong and stable’ in their hunt of the top four.

Arsenal head to traditional bogey team Stoke on Saturday evening as they look to continue their belated assault on the Champions League places and build upon the back to back 2-0 wins over Manchester United and Southampton.

The Gunners haven’t won away to Stoke since the 3-1 win in February 2010, and in the games since then they have lost three and drawn three.

Wenger has often been jeered by his own fans over his torrid record against Stoke but he admitted he is happy to cop the abuse if it means his team are protected.

“If the game is difficult for me and good for the team, I am very happy to take that,” Wenger said. “I believe that I forget about that and focus on the game always. That's the most important.”

It looked as though Arsenal’s top-four hopes were gone and Wenger would achieve his lowest league position since joining the club after the defeat to Tottenham.

There have also been the rumblings of discontent behind the scenes of the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, both of whom have not signed a new contract and remain likely to leave in the summer.

But Wenger insisted that his side are now “united” again and urged them to stand strong together for their remaining three games of the season.

Both Ozil and Sanchez have shown murmurings of discontent

“Look, if you don't turn up, you don't win the game,” he continued. “And I believe the team wants to do well and is united.

“We have gone through [times when] it was not easy mentally for the players and we had a difficult environment as well. But we were united and we have to stay like that, strong together.”

Arsenal still have an FA Cup final at Wembley to look forward to this season but all efforts are currently on snatching that final Champions League place – likely to be at the expense of Liverpool if they succeed.

However, despite it looking like it will go down right to the last game of the season, Wenger refuted suggestions that if they secured a top-four finish, it would be one of his best.

“No, I believe I just want to focus on doing well my job and just focus on Stoke now and see how well I can prepare for Stoke with the team. After that we'll see at the end of the season how we are.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments