Premier League

Wenger keen to finish top of tree

Arsene Wenger the Arsenal Manager looks on before match
Arsene Wenger is desperate to clinch this season's Premier League title.
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Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal will "give it their all" and "fight until the last day" in a bid to end their wait for the Premier League title.

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The Gunners host Chelsea on Monday night and will be counting the cost of the loss at the Etihad Stadium, where midfielder Jack Wilshere raised his middle finger in the direction of City supporters and was subsequently hit with a two-match ban by the Football Association.

Defender Laurent Koscielny, meanwhile, is an "80/90 per cent" doubt after he suffered a deep gash in his knee just before the interval in the same game.

Despite shipping half-a-dozen goals and their lead being slashed down to just two points heading into the weekend's fixtures, Wenger maintains there are plenty of reasons to be positive heading into the hectic festive schedule.

"Quite amazingly, despite the fact we conceded goals, (the Man City match) was not all negative because we could have scored six as well, so on the offensive front we have shown that we have huge potential," Wenger said.

"I believe that we should come out of that game even stronger in our belief, even stronger in our resolute attitude, because we have shown until now that we can be very strong defensively, and as well on the day we have shown that we can be dangerous against anybody.

"We can rectify the defensive problem, but that's what we want to show against Chelsea."

Arsenal will need consistency on the pitch if they are to avoid a promising start to the season evaporating before the turn of the year.

Should all results of their championship rivals go against them this weekend and then Chelsea win at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal would be down in fourth, and potentially only one point ahead of Everton.

Wenger, though, is refusing to allow any thoughts of such a bleak Christmas as his squad remain focused for the long haul.

He said: "That (fourth place) can happen as well, but we have decided to fight until the last day of the season, and look back at the championship then to think we have given it our all. Are we first or fourth? That (attitude) will not change.

"It is a promise we have made and that is where we can show we are really men, that we can commit to a project to the last day of the season."

German forward Lukas Podolski could be involved for the first time since late August following his recovery from a hamstring tear.

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"It is a big boost because he can score goals in big games," said Wenger.

"He has shown that before. He is a clinical finisher and a great football player."

Wenger admits there is little Arsenal can do but deal with Wilshere's suspension and move on.

"We thought the ban was one game and that is why we appealed. It is two, we have to accept it and to swallow it," he said.

"He was wrong in his reaction, but we are now in a situation where we have to accept it and wait until he comes back and focus on our next games without him."

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