“Don’t stop believing!”
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Arsene Wenger has obviously dusted off his “Journey: Greatest Hits” album this week as he looks for inspiration following two defeats on the spin in the Premier League.
The Gunners lost 3-1 at Chelsea last weekend to fall 12 points behind the current PL leaders (that defeat came hot on the heels of their shock home defeat to Watford) and their title hopes appear all but over for another season. After admitting at the weekend that he’s been offered a new two-year contract extension, Wenger didn’t give any update on how he’s feeling about his future.
Speaking to the media ahead of their clash against Hull City on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Wenger isn’t giving up just yet.
“It is never over. Even if you [the media] think it is, I don’t – we can’t think like that,” Wenger said. “We’re in a pack that is very tight and the fight for every position will be massive, maybe more this season than before. If it is over for us, it is over for everyone else as we are all in the pack.”
The Frenchman reiterated his point that Chelsea is in a very strong position as they do not have European action to contend with in the second half of the season, keeping their players fresher than their title rivals, but he’s obviously not giving up hope of securing a first PL title in 13 years.
Still, after plenty of late-season collapses in recent years, Arsenal’s fans won’t be holding their breath.
Speaking of fans, Arsene told the Arsenal supporters to look across north London to their rivals for how they should support a team…
“Of course, our fans have been consistent and have a high level of expectation, as I have as well,” Wenger said. “But I don’t feel it is absolutely clear. You cannot be a fan until last Tuesday and not be a fan anymore and not be behind the team this Saturday. It doesn’t make sense. All the other clubs, everywhere we fight with – Man United, Man City, Liverpool… they have big expectations as well and big histories.
“We are in a fight there, we absolutely have to be united or we have no chance to do it. You have Tottenham, everyone is in the fight and everyone is behind their team. We have to do exactly the same, even if we had two disappointing results.”
That will go down well with the fanbase, Arsene…
In other news Wenger also completely rubbished transfer reports stating he would make a move for Manchester City’s Joe Hart this summer.
Hart, 29, is currently on a season-loan with Serie A side Torino but reports stated Arsenal were interested in England’s No.1 goalkeeper. Wenger said he already has three world class goalkeepers, so he’s good.
With Petr Cech at 34 years old, plus David Ospina around, the rumor regarding Hart joining Arsenal seemed a little off the mark to begin with. With no place for him at Man City, his search for a new permanent home will continue as Liverpool and West Ham continue to be linked with a summer move.
And when it comes to Jack Wilshere, it doesn’t seem like he will be on the move this summer according to Wenger who also said there have been no talks about the Arsenal academy product, currently on loan at Bournemouth, joining the Cherries permanently.
“We have, at the moment, had no move from Bournemouth for Jack Wilshere,” Wenger confirmed.
Wilshere said himself on Thursday that he’s focused on digging Bournemouth out of a relegation battle they currently look like being sucked in to and any decision about a new deal at Arsenal or a move away from the Emirates Stadium will be contemplated in the summer.
The England international continues to grab assists and look tidy in midfield as he gets back to full fitness and back to his best. Arsenal could certainly do with his bite back in midfield next season but if Wenger can’t guarantee him regular minutes then Wilshere may well look elsewhere.