The season has been an arduous one and, like Arsenal, Manchester City will have regrets, but Arsène Wenger believes the game is still a crucial one.
This Sunday’s fixture really should have been billed as a title decider but Arsenal and City have both struggled to maintain their very best form this season and all that’s left to play for is a place in next season’s Champions League.
“We have regrets because we think we had a chance to finish top of the league,” Wenger said to the press on Friday.
“Apart from that it’s difficult to compare with City. They’re a team that’s expected to win the league every year with the investment they have so they must be in a similar position.”
The focus now is on finishing third in the table at the very least in order to confirm a place in next season’s Champions League group stage A draw for Arsenal would be good enough on Sunday as long as the Gunners beat already relegated Aston Villa on the final day.
However, north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur are still only three points ahead of us and things aren’t over if Spurs slip up this weekend and Arsenal keep winning.
“No, we have not given up hope. We will fight until the end.”
Sunday’s game feels a little anticlimactic. Arsenal struggled through January and March, ultimately allowing Leicester to storm clear.
City, meanwhile, have just lost a Champions League semi-final. Wenger, though, is still bigging up the importance of this match.
“It’s still an important game.
“Part of the responsibility of being professional is to prepare the future and the future of Arsenal Football Club depends on this game.
“It is that big.”
Contract extensions for star players Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez have been mentioned for a long time but appear to be on the backburner until the season is over: are they willing to sign if Arsenal confirm their place in next season’s Champions League?
Are signings waiting to be sealed but not until we are definitely in the group stage of next year’s competition?
Either way, something must be on the horizon for this to be a game which could influence the history of the club.