Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger not giving up on top-four finish in the Premier League just yet
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The Gunners are eight points behind Chelsea after the Blues beat West Brom last night, but the 68-year-old has called on his team to keep fighting
Arsene Wenger admitted losing Saturday’s north London derby to Tottenham Hotspur has made it even more difficult for Arsenal to achieve a top-four finish in the Premier League this season.
The Gunners went into the clash at Wembley with plenty of belief after a 5-1 thrashing at home to Everton on February 3.
It was not backed up, however, with Harry Kane scoring the only goal of the game with 49 minutes on the clock to give Spurs a 1-0 victory at the national stadium.
Arsenal remain sixth, but now trail their rivals by seven points and are eight off fourth-placed Chelsea with 11 games to go.
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Speaking after the loss, Wenger said: “It was a game we couldn’t afford to lose. It makes it much more difficult now (to finish in the top-four), but we have to fight as long as we have a mathematical chance.
“There was more at stake than just the derby, I said that before the game, and that’s why it’s so disappointing to lose the way we lost it.”
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Wenger’s side had chances to salvage a draw against Spurs with Alexandre Lacezette failing to hit the target with two opportunities in stoppage time and the defeat extended Arsenal’s poor record away to their top-six rivals.
Saturday’s loss followed a 4-0 reverse at Liverpool and a 3-1 loss at Manchester City earlier in the campaign.
The Gunners did hold Chelsea to a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge on September 17, but they haven’t earned all three points at one of the big-six since winning 2-0 at City on January 18 2015.
Although Arsenal’s defending was criticised on Saturday, when asked about their record in the big games, Wenger highlighted they have problems at both ends of the pitch.
“It’s very poor,” admitted the 68-year-old, when reflecting on the Gunners recent results on the road against the likes of City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs.
“Football is about scoring goals and you can say we are not strong enough defending our goal, but you look at the numbers and compare them to the top six and we do not score enough goals away from home as well. These two weaknesses are linked, one to the other, and it explains it.”
Arsenal only have one more game away to a big-six rival this season, but after Saturday’s loss, even a win at Man United on April 28 may not be enough for them to secure a top-four finish this campaign.