Arsene Wenger says Arsenal ‘have to beat’ Manchester United in a ‘big’ game on Sunday but accepts that even a winning end to the season may not be enough to secure a spot in next season’s Champions League
The Gunners could reach 75 points if they win their remaining five fixtures – a total they’ve matched or beaten in ten of the last 20 seasons – starting with victory against a Jose Mourinho side that are currently unbeaten in 25 Premier League matches.
Reflecting on the uphill struggle ahead and the upcoming clash with the Red Devils, noted:
“The problem before [the north London derby] was that the clarity was if we won all our games, we had a good chance of being in the top four.
“Now, even winning the games doesn’t guarantee us that]. It’s not in our hands. That’s all we have to achieve.
“It [United] is a big game. Of course every big game boosts your confidence, but for us more than focusing on the fact it is Manchester United, a big club and a big rivalry over the years, what is important is to have the chance to achieve our target. We have no choice, we have to beat them.”
On the competitiveness of the 2016/17 season, the boss added: “It just shows that everybody has moved up and the number of clubs that can fight at the top is bigger this season and the difference between the teams is smaller.
“As soon as you are not at your best you can lose, we saw over the weekend. We lost at Tottenham but they have had a good season, City played a draw at Middlesbrough and United played a draw against Swansea, that shows as soon as you are not at your best you can drop points.”
Three fun facts ahead of Sunday…
- Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over United last season is our only win in 11 Premier League games against them (D4 / L6).
- United haven’t lost consecutive away Premier League games against Arsenal since November 2001.
- This will be Wenger’s 58th match against Manchester United in all competitions. He has a win percentage of 29% – the lowest win rate against any side (15 games minimum).
Time for a puppy cuddling a kitten we think…