English Premiership

Arsenal won’t give up on title - Wenger

2016-03-07 20:24
Arsene Wenger (Supplied)
Arsene Wenger (Supplied)

Cape Town - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is refusing to write off his side's chances of lifting the Premier League trophy this season after Saturday's 2-2 draw with north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur left them eight points behind leaders Leicester City.

A three-game winless run in the league has severely dented Arsenal's hopes of ending their 12-year wait for the league title. However, they still have nine games to turn their fortunes around.

"The championship is far from over," Wenger told reporters on Monday ahead of his club's FA Cup fifth round replay against second tier side Hull City on Tuesday.

"We have beaten twice Leicester. People have to look at the other teams. We will not give up in the championship. We will fight until the end."

Wenger also confirmed he will make a few changes to his side for Tuesday's game as they bid to become the first club since Blackburn Rovers in the 1880s to lift the FA Cup trophy three years in a row and only the third club ever to do so.

"I will have to make (changes). I'm not concerned by replacing one player for another. I have to rotate a bit and keep the balance in the team," Wenger said.

Wenger heaped praise on goalkeeper David Ospina, who made nine saves during Saturday's draw with Spurs, after doubts were raised about the Colombian's ability to fill in for the injured Petr Cech, who has been a major factor in this season's successes.

"I rate him as a world-class goalkeeper and he had been unfairly treated," the Frenchman said of Ospina.

"I played him against Olympiakos (Piraeus) and it's a shame at that time his stats did not come out in the press, but I never questioned his quality."

Midfielder Alex Iwobi, who has made 10 appearances this campaign, has been included in the squad to face Hull and Wenger described the 19-year-old as an "interesting player".

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Saturday, 26 August 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City, Vitality Stadium 13:30
Crystal Palace v Swansea City, Selhurst Park 16:00
Newcastle United v West Ham United, St. James' Park 16:00
Huddersfield Town v Southampton, The John Smith's Stadium 16:00
Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
Manchester United v Leicester City, Old Trafford 18:30
Sunday, 27 August 2017
Chelsea v Everton, Stamford Bridge 14:30
West Bromwich Albion v Stoke City, The Hawthorns 14:30
Liverpool v Arsenal, Anfield 17:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley, Wembley Stadium 17:00
Saturday, 09 September 2017
Manchester City v Liverpool, Etihad Stadium 13:30
Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth, Emirates Stadium 16:00
Everton v Tottenham Hotspur, Goodison Park 16:00
Leicester City v Chelsea, King Power Stadium 16:00
Southampton v Watford, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v West Bromwich Albion, The American Express Community Stadium 16:00
Stoke City v Manchester United, Bet365 Stadium 18:30
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