Wenger wants to stay in the hunt

BY foxsports • April 16, 2011

The Gunners can take advantage of Manchester United's FA Cup semi-final date with rivals City at Wembley this weekend to close the gap at the top of the table down to four points. If Arsenal can then go on and win their game in hand at north-London rivals Tottenham next Tuesday night, that deficit could be down to just a single point which would leave everything still to play for ahead of their May 1 showdown with the Red Devils at the Emirates Stadium. Even though the destiny of the championship is now out of Arsenal's hand following a run of three successive draws before their win at Blackpool last weekend, Wenger's men have not lost in the league since going down 1-0 at Old Trafford some 14 games ago. The Gunners boss insists his side must focus on extending that run with another victory over the Reds on Sunday. "We are in the run for the championship so why should we at the moment feel that we are bad?" said Wenger, who launched an impassioned defence of his team following more questions about their character. "It is important that we feel we are strong and it is important for the country that this championship race is still alive." Wenger added: "Of course we always want to win more, but you look at the history of any club and to be consistently at the top for 15 years and moving to a different stadium is not as bad as people say it is. "I just felt it is important we focus on what we can achieve, and that we do not sit here like we are on a tribunal. "What you have to accept is that England is the most difficult championship in the world, and that there are six or seven teams who can win the championship. "That is why it is difficult for everybody." During Arsenal's rise under Wenger, Liverpool have seen their Premier League fortunes falter somewhat, the Anfield club winning the last of their 18 championships a generation ago in 1990. However, there is renewed hope the tenure of legend Kenny Dalglish will again bring the glory days back to the red half of Merseyside. "For a while he was director of football at Liverpool, so it looked like he decided not to come back into the game, but certainly Liverpool has a special meaning for him and that is why he decided to come back," Wenger said. "Liverpool had a slow start, but you expected them to come back to some decent performances, but you are not surprised because Liverpool are one of the best teams in this league." The Reds have a new Kop idol in Andy Carroll, who started to repay some of his £35million transfer fee with an impressive brace in the 3-0 win over Manchester City. England striker Carroll has already done for Arsenal once at the Emirates Stadium this season, his headed goal handing Newcastle a shock 1-0 win during November. Wenger has been impressed by the 22-year-old's performances. "He is physically very strong, has a good understanding of the game on crosses, long balls, uses his body well and he is very good in the air," said the Arsenal manager. "Carroll is very young as well so there is still a lot to come from him. "One of the goals he scored against Manchester City was a typically a striker's goal, good anticipation, good deflection of the ball, so we have to keep him quiet." As well as challenging for the domestic Double, United are also in the semi-finals of the Champions League. Wenger, though, is not concerning himself whether their rivals' hectic schedule will play a part in the title race. "It can be a handicap, but will it be? I don't know," said the Arsenal manager. "When you are on a momentum, it can be helpful as long as everything goes for you. "The only thing I do know is it will be only helpful to us if we win our games, so we just have to focus to try to win our games. "For the rest we cannot look too much. "If we win our games, it will happen. "The most difficult part from us is to win our games."

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