English Premiership

Wenger coy over EPL chances

2015-03-20 08:58
Arsene Wenger (Supplied)
Arsene Wenger (Supplied)

Newcastle - Arsene Wenger admits it will take a major slip from Chelsea to allow Arsenal back into the Premier League title race.

Wenger's side will attempt to put their agonising midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Monaco behind them when they travel to face Newcastle on Saturday.

Victory at St James' Park would extend their run of five successive league wins, a sequence that has taken them to within one point of second-placed Manchester City and seven points behind leaders Chelsea, who have a game in hand.

Wenger believes his side are gathering momentum at an important time of the domestic campaign, although he accepts the disappointment of going out of Europe on the away-goals rule despite winning 2-0 in Monaco in the second leg has dented morale.

"At the moment we are too far away from Chelsea, but we have an opportunity every week to get closer and for that we need positive results from us, and negative results from Chelsea," Wenger said.

"The only thing we can master is positive results from us. I believe Chelsea still has a very good cushion and very good security.

"They still have a game in hand. I believe they are too far apart at the moment.

"Every year is different. We just have to focus on our performances. I do not count on the weaknesses of any of our opponents. We just have to focus on our strengths."

A more immediate target is to overhaul City in second spot, although Wenger believes the battle between the contenders for a top four place is too close to call.

"It is very tight, we are on the neck of Manchester City but straight behind us we have Manchester United, Liverpool and it is a very tight race," he said.

"Even Tottenham are not completely out of it, and Southampton are not completely out of it."

Frustrated and disappointed

However, Wenger admits his side must lift themselves after once again failing to reach the last eight of the Champions League again.

"We are on a good run. We won the game. We are frustrated and disappointed to go out, but it's not down to our performance on Tuesday night, it's down to our home performance, especially on the defensive front - we paid for it," he added.

"We were a bit unlucky as well because if you look at the number of shots on target Monaco had in the two games, they have been very efficient in qualifying."

Tomas Rosicky could return to the Arsenal squad but Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Debuchy, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are still out.

Newcastle are short of defensive options as they look to record a first home victory over the Gunners since 2005.

Skipper Fabricio Coloccini starts a three-match suspension for his sending off in last week's 3-0 defeat at Everton that leaves John Carver's side 11th in the table, 10 points above the relegation zone.

Massadio Haidara is again set to miss out with a knee problem, with fellow defenders Steven Taylor, Paul Dummett and Curtis Good not due back from injury until the start of pre-season training.

Interim head coach Carver's record of two wins from 11 games since taking charge following the departure of Alan Pardew in January has failed to enhance his hopes of earning the job full-time in the close-season.

"We're short on numbers, and it won't be a difficult team selection because we've got 13 fit senior outfield players," he said.

"It's down to me to work with the ones we've got available. We're down to the bare bones."

Coloccini joins Newcastle's 11-goal top scorer Papiss Cisse in being ruled out by suspension, and Carver added: "Just when you think you're getting somewhere with players coming back, then you go and lose your captain for three games."

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Breaking News

Fixtures
Monday, 22 April 2019
Chelsea v Burnley, Stamford Bridge 21:00
Tuesday, 23 April 2019
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 20:45
Watford v Southampton, Vicarage Road Stadium 20:45
Wednesday, 24 April 2019
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal, Molineux Stadium 20:45
Manchester United v Manchester City, Old Trafford 21:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.