Arsene Wenger does not even want to consider the consequences of failing to qualify for the Champions League as Arsenal continue their battle for fourth place with Everton. Arsenal go into Tuesday’s meeting with West Ham at the Emirates two points behind Everton after a crushing 3-0 loss at Goodison Park in their last Premier League outing.
Despite having since reached the FA Cup final, following a penalty shootout victory over Wigan Athletic, there remains speculation that Wenger could leave his contract unsigned and walk away from the club this summer if Arsenal were to fail to extend their 16-year run among Europe’s elite. Yet Wenger is intent on simply focusing on what they have to do to ensure that doesn’t happen.
"It [winning every game] is the target," Wenger said, according to Arsenal’s official website. "Do you need it? Nobody knows, but the target is of course to win every game.
"We want to achieve it [a top-four finish] and that's simple. We just want to not imagine the consequences of not doing it, what you want is just to focus on doing it.
"That's where I think we have the focus, the quality of the spirit, we have the desire and we are slowly getting our players back so the squad is not depleted any more. It's much more stronger than it was two or three weeks ago.”
Arsenal’s injury crisis could ease further with the return of Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny against West Ham. However, the 120 minutes played at Wembley on Saturday could well take a toll. Wenger explained on Monday that Nacho Monreal, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and, to a lesser extent, Lukas Podolski, are all doubts for Tuesday’s encounter having suffered minor problems against Wigan.
In contrast, West Ham have had nine days since their last encounter, a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool that snapped a two-game win streak that appeared to have removed any fears of relegation. But victories for two inhabitants of the relegation zone, Fulham and Cardiff City, on Saturday means that West Ham are still looking over their shoulders with seven points separating them from the drop zone. And manager Sam Allardyce explained that securing points for his own side is a much bigger motivating factor than playing spoiler to Arsenal’s Champions League hopes.
“From our point of view, the success of the teams below us over the weekend and the results that were surprisingly pulled off mean that we still look down because we're not mathematically safe,” he said, according to West Ham’s official website.
“For us, the motivation is to get some points for ourselves, not to stop Arsenal getting in the Champions League.”
West Ham’s major injury doubt ahead of the short trip to the Emirates is over Kevin Nolan. The club’s captain suffered a hamstring injury but will be given until the day of the game to try and prove his fitness.
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League game will kick off from the Emirates at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBCSN, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.