Wenger retains top-four belief after Sunderland win

Rufina Vignone
Mag 20, 2017

The race for the final two tickets to next season's Champions League will go to the wire after Arsenal retained their slim hopes of finishing in the Premier League's top four thanks to a late burst from Alexis Sanchez against Sunderland on Tuesday.

If Liverpool defeat relegated Middlesbrough on Sunday and City take four points from matches at home to West Bromwich Albion and away to Watford, however, it will be impossible for Arsenal to finish in the top four.

Arsenal have just three games remaining before that point - two home Premier League clashes against the Black Cats and Everton, before an FA Cup final date with newly-crowned champions Chelsea.

If Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal win their respective games, Man City will finish 3rd and Liverpool will finish 4th.

The Gunners legend said: "Arsene Wenger is very, very intellectual and maybe he is just deflecting a little bit what is happening at the football club at the moment".

"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".

"I made the decision to start Alexis at 4pm", Wenger said at a news conference.

"At the end of the day, if we make 75 points we can only be beaten by one point. Sunderland fought and you want that in the Premier League - that's what you want from every team".

And Wenger was delighted that his team were able to close the gap in front of their own supporters.

The visitors had to wait until the 34th minute for their first chance when Jermaine Defoe played Didier Ndong through on goal, however Petr Cech produced a good save to deny the winger.

"We set out to stop them and contain them and I thought for long periods we did that". "But once he is on the pitch and has the ball he becomes the devil and forgets his pain".

In contrast to their London rivals, Arsenal have not won the league since 2004 and Wenger has come under renewed pressure this season with his side in danger of failing to qualify for the Champions League.

"I don't understand how the managers speak for other clubs and other teams". Let yours be one of the many gaps in the stands that send a direct and unarguable message to the directors.

What folks who know him fairly well have told me, however - and, I think, is more than plausible - is that he is far more likely to leave on a high than on a low.

In the second-half, Arsenal upped the tempo, although Nacho Monreal nearly scored a freaky own-goal, an incident which would lead to an equally odd indirect free-kick for Sunderland deep inside the Gunners' box.

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