After a long season we are looking at the final straight but Arsène Wenger is not willing to concede defeat to Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side.
Our north London neighbours remain in a title race we crashed out of last weekend but are still only six points clear of us and have played a game more.
However, the boss isn’t ready to call it quits.
“We are not behind Spurs yet,” Wenger told reporters after his press conference on Friday morning. Spurs have a difficult game away to Stoke on Monday night and, feasibly, the only thing separating us by the time that is over is three points. We would also have a game in hand.
Finishing below Spurs for the first time since he arrived in north London way back in 1996 would be horrible for Wenger, who appears to be losing more and more fans each year. Nonetheless, he isn’t worried by the prospect of finishing behind Pochettino’s men for just one season.
“But Tottenham have been behind us for years and they have survived.”
That is unlikely to appease fans, Arsène.
The manager went on to hint at a lack of transfer activity in the coming summer, despite the prospect of finishing behind not only Spurs but also Leicester City, who are now big favourites to claim the Premier League title.
“Let’s be realistic. From the outside people could say this core group needs changes. But we have to analyse it in an objective way.
“This team has won many games and the quality of many games was at the top level. Yes, we drew 3-3 at West Ham last week but we played well. We have to correct the aspects of our game that were not convincing.”
The manner in which Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead last weekend was the most worrying thing about the game at Upton Park, not just the fact that we drew. For the most part, we certainly didn’t play well.
Overall you have to question everything Wenger says to the media, thanks to his preference to lead them along while without giving much away. However, the manager has almost always defended his own performance and the idea it’s ok to finish behind Spurs, even just this once, won’t wash with many fans.
It must be remembered that Arsenal are the ONLY team in England to finish above Spurs in every season since Wenger arrived. The Lilywhites have been higher in the table than Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool in the last six Premier League seasons and will finish above each of those sides again this year. Maybe it’s just our turn.