Arsenal can put their morale-sapping recent results behind them and win the Premier League, manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday. (Getty Images)
Arsenal can put their morale-sapping recent results behind them and win the Premier League, manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday ahead of a crucial home clash with title favourites Manchester City. Fourth-placed Arsenal have endured a dismal week as a 6-0 thumping by leaders Chelsea, followed by a home draw against struggling Swansea City, left them six points off top spot.
But the Frenchman, whose team have taken eight points from their last six league matches, was in a defiant mood ahead of Saturday's visit of City.
"There is no other priority other than coming first - that is still our target," said Wenger, whose best chance of claiming a trophy this season comes in the FA Cup where they will face Wigan Athletic in the semi-final in April.
"We have not given up believe me. We were 17 or 18 times top of the league this season. If people say (fifth place) Everton can catch us then we can catch the teams above us," he said.
Arsenal have been guilty of capitulating against their title rivals this season and were beaten 6-3 by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in December. Yet they boast an impressive home record in the league, losing only once to Aston Villa in the first game of the season, and Wenger has backed his stuttering side to perform against third-placed City.
"We play at the Emirates where we show big strengths and we want to show that again. There are plenty of positives to take from the game at the Etihad - but of course we must defend better. It will be down to the quality of our collective defending on Saturday. We have to keep going despite our negative results. We haven't started the big games on the front foot and we want to change that," Wenger told a news conference.
With the pomp and ceremony surrounding Wenger's 1,000th game in charge well and truly shattered at Stamford Bridge last weekend, media speculation about the Frenchman's future has intensified as he is yet to sign a new contract. The 64-year-old, however, says he is committed to the north London club and is also confident that French right back Bacary Sagna, whose contact is up at the end of the season, will stay on.
"I'm confident he (Sagna) will stay, but we will accept his decision and go with it. My commitment is not questionable. I have given my word and I always respect my word," Wenger added.