Gunners have City spot in their sights
Ending Manchester City’s title charge clearly isn’t good enough for Arsenal as the north Londoners are now after their rivals’ second place in the table as well.
The Gunners shot down the moneybags club 1-0 at the Emirates on Sunday, effectively ending their chase of United in the hunt for the Premier League crown.
And bolstered by that peerless performance, Wojciech Szczesny believes Arsenal shouldn’t settle for their current third spot, but rather do all they can to leapfrog City and finish runners-up.
With a 10 point gap between the two teams such a reversal of fortune is unlikely, although that hasn’t stopped the Polish keeper from setting his sights high.
“I believe we will finish third,” said the Arsenal stopper.
“But Man City have lost their chance of the title - it was a big blow to us last year and they might drop a little bit, so who knows, maybe we can catch them as well.
“Our aim is to win every game and if we do we will be in the Champions League next season.” Arsene Wenger’s boys have now tasted victory in eight of their past nine games and Szczesny insists it shows how strong Arsenal are.
“We have shown that when we are put under pressure we can deal with it,” he said.
“We had very difficult times at the start of the season and managed to get through it and the team spirit is obvious for all to see. We take advantage of it to win games like this, and this is the fifth game in the last few months where we have won it at the end. The team is doing well, the atmosphere is good and it shows out there on the pitch.”
Arsene Wenger’s side travel to relegation-threatened Wolves tonight hoping for a win that would help their push for second. However, victory is the very least Thomas Vermaelan expects as he claims Arsenal are good enough to go for the title next season.
“In some games we have shown a lot of quality and that we can compete with everybody,” the Belgian defender said. But you have to be consistent in the league and sometimes that’s not been the case for us. But we will try to do that better next year. I’m confident we can do that.
“Defensively it’s about the organisation of the team. It’s not just about the defenders who defend, but the whole shape of the team, and that’s really good at the moment.”
STRONG FINISH SHOWCASING WENGER'S SKILL...SAYS GREG WILCOX
Back in September if someone had said Arsenal would have second place in their sights come the end of the season they’d have been accused of being as bonkers as Mario Balotelli.
However, with few histrionics the Gunners have quietly gone about transforming their season, and that they are now safely in the top four and looking to topple City from the runners-up spot is all down to one man: step forward Arsene Wenger.
Nowadays all it takes for a manager to start complaining he hasn’t got enough money to challenge for honours is a 1-0 half-time deficit, such is the pathetic misunderstanding most coaches have of their job description. However, in the age of the chequebook boss Wenger has simply stuck to his task and done what he is paid for - namely manage.
After six games this term Arsenal had just seven points. Worse than that, they had suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat at one-time rivals Manchester United, lost to neighbours Spurs and looked like
they were going to be challenging for nothing come the business end of the season.
Wenger (second picture), a man for whom whining has become second nature, refused to moan and splash the cash on some overpriced nobody. He merely stuck to his guns and backed his knowledge of his side and the game to get the Gunners back up the table.
And in a age when the first thing Mark Hughes says on becoming QPR manager is “I need $50 million to keep you up”, and where even Roberto Mancini claims he needs more cash to mount a title charge, that’s as refreshing a story as there can be.