Wenger: If title race is over for Arsenal, it is over for everyone else

By Nicholas McGee 9 February 2017 36703
Wenger: If title race is over for Arsenal, it is over for everyone else

Arsene Wenger believes that if the Premier League title race is over for Arsenal, it is over for the rest of the chasing pack.

Wenger's men are 12 points behind leaders Chelsea following their 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and now face a fight to stay in the top four.

Tottenham are three points ahead of Arsenal and stand as Chelsea's closest challengers in second place with 14 games of the season remaining.

But Wenger was defiant in his assessment of the league table ahead of this weekend's visit of a resurgent Hull City.

He said: "It's never over. We cannot behave like that. Even if you think it is, I don't. We cannot even think like that.

"We look at the teams around us and we are all in a pack that is very tight, where the fight for every position will be massive like it has always been in the Premier League, maybe even more this season than ever before.

"It has always been difficult [to finish in the top four], but maybe it's even tighter than ever. The way we respond to our disappointing result last Saturday is vital.

"If it is over for us, it's over for everybody else. We are all together in a pack there, so first we have to focus on staying at the top, then if we can reduce the distance between us and Chelsea after, you never know.

"They have an advantage where they aren't playing in Europe. They have no midweek games, so of course they are in a very strong position."

Arsenal host a Hull side who have found a new lease of life under Marco Silva, claiming a 2-0 win over Liverpool last time out.

On the Tigers' performances under the Portuguese, Wenger added: "I felt they played well since the start of the season, but they had not always the results.

"The Premier League is difficult for everybody – they were a bit unlucky sometimes, so they are a tough opposition for us."

Mohamed Elneny is available for Arsenal again following Egypt's defeat in the Africa Cup of Nations final, but Hector Bellerin has yet to be given the go-ahead to return to training after suffering a head injury in the build-up to Chelsea's opening goal.

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Nicholas McGee