Arsene Wenger has conceded that Arsenal have blown their title chances after defeat left them 12 points behind leaders City before Christmas, however his number one ‘keeper Szczesny has other ideas and believes all is not lost yet, and has made finishing ahead of Spurs in the table his priority.
David Silva’s goal restored Roberto Mancini’s side to the top of the table after a battling display from both sides which leaves the Gunners in fifth place.
And Arsenal boss Wenger said:
It was a game we couldn’t afford to lose because it now puts us too far behind City. If we’d won, it would have put us only six points behind.
With our full-backs coming back, as well as Jack Wilshere (above) and Abou Diaby, we will have a better squad in the second half of the season.
But it will be difficult to close the gap although, of course, we will try.
Securing a Champions League spot now is obviously the number one priority, but no doubt the gunners will try to keep pushing for a higher position provided teams at the top slip up, particularly Spurs.
Szczesny told the London Evening Standard:
Getting above Tottenham is the main target. We don’t want to finish below them no matter what. That’s just my personal ambition because I am one of the fans and so it means a lot to me to finish above them. I am confident we will do so.
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They will slip up eventually. They have been in good form – you have to give it to them – but I am confident we are a better side and will finish above them. Time will tell if they can handle the pressure but they look good at the moment. Hopefully they will drop points in the second half of the season.’
I don’t think there is a big gap between the teams in terms of quality. They [Manchester City] just got the winning goal and that was the difference. But we showed that we are just as good as the richest team and possibly, at the moment, the best team in the league, so that gives us confidence we can beat everyone else.
They will drop points. They lost against Chelsea, who are a good side, and they seemed to have got their confidence back. We are confident, playing well while they are on top of the league but United are catching up. Everyone can win it still.
It is too big a gap but we hope we can make it smaller and then we can talk about challenging for the title. We are confident going into the Christmas period that we can get the results.