Arsene Wenger has claimed that he’s genuinely surprised that Arsenal supporters think missing out on a top-four place is “such a big problem”, despite repeatedly stressing the significance of qualifying for Champions League football in the past.

Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Sunderland in midweek means that they’ll have to beat Everton and hope other results go in their favour to claim an unlikely top-four place.

Liverpool have to drop points against already-relegated Middlesbrough at home, or City need to succumb to a heavy defeat against Watford. Both possibilities are unlikely, so Arsenal have already begun preparing themselves for life outside the Champions League.

Considering how the Gunners were expected to genuinely challenge Chelsea in a battle for the Premier League this season, inconsistent results in 2017 quickly made the club seem like laughing stock for rival supporters.

Given the pressures of the last few months, especially with uncertainty surrounding Arsène Wenger’s future at the club, these comments from the Frenchman will come as a surprise to many.

When asked if his team needed a miracle to secure Champions League football he was quoted as saying, “No, you never know – but anyway, I answered for 20 years the question, ‘the top four is nothing special.’

“So I don’t know why suddenly it could become such a big problem. I’m quite surprised. I want to absolutely make sure that we are in there but after that let’s get to 75 points and see what happens.”

It seems like a drastic attempt by Wenger to try and rejuvenate some form of morale and confidence into the side, which could ultimately backfire in the coming weeks.

Everton and Chelsea are undoubtedly tricky challenges for Arsenal to overcome, but the fact that they’re on a four-game winning run – albeit at the wrong time – they’ll be quietly hopeful that this season which promised plenty, can result in another piece of silverware and qualification for the Champions League.

“We can talk and talk, but at the end let’s make 75 points. If you look at the number of points we can make, it’s one of the best in the last 10 years.”