AW tips tough top-four tussle
Arsenal tackle Aston Villa on Sunday looking to stay ahead of FA Cup finalists Manchester City and secure automatic qualification for the Champions League once again. However, with City set to play among Europe's elite for the first time next season and sure to now strengthen their squad with more multi-million investment over the summer, Chelsea set to bring in fresh talent as Roman Abramovich looks to make them the side to beat again, not to mention a resurgent Liverpool under new boss Kenny Dalglish, Wenger knows next season is likely to be the biggest challenge for all title hopefuls. "People take it for granted that we are in there every year, but believe me, it is hard work," said the Arsenal manager, who is braced for a sixth season without a trophy, but once more having secured a place in the top four. "You have clubs like Liverpool out of it, Tottenham were a big candidate this season. It is difficult to combine all the competitions and to be in the top four. "It is not enough, I agree, because I work the whole year to win the championship, but it is not guaranteed for anyone to be in there - not even Manchester United." Wenger continued: "City will now be contenders, that is for sure. It will be easier for them to buy players now they are in the Champions League. "You can see they will still have us, Manchester United, Liverpool will come back and Chelsea will invest again." There were jubilant celebrations when City secured their shot at the Champions League after seeing off rivals Tottenham last week. For Arsenal, though, it has become something of a pre-requisite over the past decade. Wenger said: "Because our people are used to it they want more, and that is understandable." The Gunners boss hopes to add some experience to the squad over the summer, most notably in defence where moves for Everton's England centre-back Phil Jagielka and Bosnian centre-half Emir Spahic are expected. Wenger also intends to "do anything possible" to tie up midfielder Samir Nasri on a new deal and will of course have to fend off the perennial interest for captain Cesc Fabregas, which could now also include City as well as boyhood club Barcelona. "The first target is not to weaken our team, but to strengthen it," the Arsenal manager said.