Ruling Arsenal out of the Premier League title race is 'absolutely stupid', says defiant Arsene Wenger

Despite losing two of their three games this season, the Arsenal manager insists his side are good enough to challenge for the Premier League title this season

Jack de Menezes
Tuesday 05 September 2017 09:39
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Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal can still challenge for the Premier League title
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal can still challenge for the Premier League title

Arsene Wenger believes writing off Arsenal’s Premier League title hopes would be “absolutely stupid”, despite losing two of their three matches this season.

After the season-opening victory over Leicester City, Arsenal have lost back-to-back league games against Stoke City and Liverpool, the latter a 4-0 humiliation that led to many writing off any hopes of Arsenal winning a first title since the ‘Invincible’ 2003/04 season.

Matters were made worse for the Gunners as the end of the transfer window ended in farce, with a £92m offer for Monaco forward Thomas Lemar failing to materilise for reasons that are still unknown due to various claims of the player wanting to join Liverpool and Arsenal performing a U-turn after deciding not to sell Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City.

Arsenal also decided to cash in on England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the 24-year-old completing a £40m move to rivals Liverpool, but both club chief executive Ivan Gazidis and Wenger have played down any talk of panic and stress that the summer has been a success for the north London side, leaving them in a position to challenge for silverware this season.

“People make their minds up very quickly and you forget how good you are – much quicker than you think,” Wenger said while working for BeIN SPORTS.

“We must continue to believe in our strengths and not to forget. And ours fans as well, to have a successful season we need our fans.

“Our fans can say 'our squad is not good enough' or 'we are not good enough' and think 'OK, we have no chance this year' – that will not work.

“We want our fans to be behind us in this moment even if we are very sorry for what we delivered but to have a successful team we need to have that.”

The Frenchman, who turns 68 years old next month, believes that the defeat by Liverpool – which leaves Arsenal six points behind early Premier League pace-setters Manchester United – can be put down as an “accident”, providing his side prove over their next few games that they are capable of making the running for the title.

Wenger is once again under pressure after a poor start to the season (Getty)

“What we learnt from this defeat is that we were not at all at the level that is expected from us and that we must, very quickly, show that was a complete accident,” Wenger added.

“It would be absolutely stupid to say today that we give up in the race for the championship.”

But he did show faith in his players due to the fact that the club won the FA Cup last season in what he described as a “very convincing manner” in their final win over Chelsea, which he believes justifies the talents of Mesut Özil, Aaron Ramsey and others that have come in for criticism over the last month.

“Let’s not forget, not one and a half months ago we won the FA Community Shield and the FA Cup in a very convincing way with the same players,” he added.

Arsenal face Bournemouth at home this weekend before beginning their Europa League campaign next Thursday – a first for Wenger – with the visit of FC Köln.

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