Arsene Wenger is refusing to give up hope on Arsenal ending their wait for a Premier League title this season, despite having dropped five points in a torrid past week. Following a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea and a late own goal that cost them a win against Swansea City, Arsenal now trail leaders Chelsea by six points. They are also three points behind Manchester City, with the visitors to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday having two games in hand.
After Mathieu Flamini’s 90th minute own goal saw Arsenal draw 2-2 with Swansea on Tuesday, Wenger sounded downcast and suggested that his team now had to be more concerned with preserving their fourth place form the threat of Everton. However, speaking on Friday, he was more upbeat.
“It is [our last chance to stay in the title race], yes,” the manager said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “But I believe that we have to keep going despite the past two negative results. If people say that Everton can catch us, that means we can catch the teams The next game is of massive importance because it is Man City and they fight at the top. They are the favorites with Chelsea and Liverpool, but when you play one of the favorites you have an opportunity to shorten the distance with them.
“We have not given up, believe me. We can show that [on Saturday] -- it is our attitude that will decide that. Champions keep going when everybody else would give up. We have an opportunity to show that we have that mentality.”
The mauling by Chelsea was just the latest in a series of humbling losses at the hands of their title rivals, of which a 6-3 defeat to Manchester City was another. After a recent dip, Manuel Pellegrini’s side now look back on top form. In contrast to their next opponents, City enjoyed a week to remember with a 5-0 drubbing of Fulham being followed up by a convincing 3-0 victory at the home of their fiercest rivals, Manchester United.
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“The week has started very well and we hope to finish in the same way,” Pellegrini said in his pre-match press conference, according to Manchester City’s official website. “I think it is always very important for the club, the players and the fans to win the derby, now we must try to win the next match to continue fighting for the title.”
And Pellegrini is not discounting Arsenal from still being a factor in the battle got the championship.
“This is a big game because it is against a team fighting for the title also,” he explained. “It’s a match of six points, but not the match that will decide the title. Arsenal have not had a good week but they are a still a very good team. They are playing at home and have very good players and I am sure we will need to play a very good game if we want to win.”
City will again be unable to call upon leading scorer Sergio Aguero as well as defender Matija Nastasic. Arsenal’s injury problems continue with Aaron Ramsey having suffered another setback and Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Nacho Monreal, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby all still sidelined.
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match will kick off at 1.30 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBCSN with a live stream available via NBC Sports Live Extra.