Arsene Wenger admits his side didn’t look like scoring against Sunderland despite mustering 28 shots at goal and having 76% possession.
While the 0-0 draw secured a point that all but clinches third spot in the table, the fact his side failed to find the back of the net for a third successive home game has the boss concerned ahead of the FA Cup final.
Speaking to press after the game the Frenchman lamented another frustrating night at the Emirates before urging his side to put on a show for the crowd in Sunday’s final Premier League outing of the season.
“You can say that we dominated possession and we lacked a bit of sharpness in our movement, in the way we prepared our chances and in our finishing as well.
“Physically it was an intense game on Sunday from what we have analysed and we were a bit jaded tonight. We haven’t scored in the last three games at home and the fact that we couldn’t score played a big part in our spontaneous attitude when finishing.
“You have to expect your opponent to play well and you to be good enough to beat them despite that. Overall it is what it is.
“We are in a strong position now to finish in the top three. Let’s do it and finish the season well in the cup final. We have to recover. It’s important to win on Sunday and give a good final game to our fans. After that we need to prepare for the FA Cup final.”
Asked whether his side had played with enough width, the boss continued: “We played with three strikers. Two wingers and one centre forward. We had the full backs going forward. Sebastian Coates especially and John O’Shea defended our crosses very well.
“We didn’t look like scoring, even if we had 28 shots on goal. There was something missing always and you could see that they would throw their body in every time. We needed something special to score tonight because they defended very well.”
Manchester United could still pip the Gunners to automatic entry to the Champions League group stages, but it would require an Arsenal defeat against West Bromwich Albion and for Louis van Gaal’s side to secure a win that overcomes a seven goal deficit.
It’s not a situation that is particularly concerning Wenger.
“Have I got any nerves about finishing third? No. We want to win our game on Sunday, that’s all. We want to prepare to win the game on Sunday.
“You could see that some players are a bit [tired]. We played our 56th game of the season tonight and some players have given a lot. We still have time to recover for Sunday and prepare well for the FA Cup final. What is important now is that we win on Sunday.”
Talk of jaded players does seem a little odd given it was his choice to make only two changes to the starting line-up when other options are currently available. It remains to be seen whether he tinkers further in four days time.