Venue – Emirates Stadium, London, England UK
Time – 16:00 PM GMT
Date – 3 April 2017
Arsenal have lost four of their last five Premier League games but Arsene Wenger says the worries over his future are not behind their run.
Arsene Wenger says it would be “an easy excuse” to blame Arsenal’s poor form on the uncertainty over his future and has called on his players to fight to improve performances.
A run of four Premier League defeats in five matches has seen the Gunners drop to sixth in the table ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City, and failing to beat Pep Guardiola’s side would leave them facing a huge challenge to qualify for the Champions League.
Wenger stated after the 3-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion this month that he had made up his mind over whether or not he will sign a new contract, though neither he nor the club have yet to make any announcement.
The persistent speculation has also cast the futures of some Arsenal stars into doubt, with contract talks with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez on hold until the end of the season, while it has been suggested that other senior players have become distracted by the air of uncertainty.
Wenger accepts that the season has been a disappointment to date but insists that his decision to stay or go should not be considered a mitigating factor behind their slip in standards.
“It would be an easy excuse,” he told Sky Sports. “Whether I stay two years or 10 years I have exactly the same commitment and the same desire to win the next game. I believe we are in a position where we do not have to find easy excuses. Our job is to perform.
“The worst you accuse me of, having done 20 years at the club, is creating instability. If I have created anything it is stability. The situation is not sorted out and I believe it’s important we focus on what is essential. You know my attachment to this club and at the moment it is as it is and I do not see any escape route to have less responsibility because of that. You have to be men and focus on what matters and what is our job.
“You do not need to concede a corner because I have not signed a five-year contract. You defend on a corner no matter if your manager is has a one month or 10-year contract. We have to look at ourselves and believe in our qualities because if you look at our offensive numbers they are very positive in the league. We need to defend better and that’s why we’ve lost some big games. When I say defend better it’s not just the defenders it’s the team as a whole.
“What’s gone wrong? We don’t defend well enough. We can still have to turn this around by the end of the season. It’s a strange season because we played 20 games unbeaten and then you slip slightly away in one game, two games and suddenly it becomes a problem. “It’s not gone in the way we expected but it can still be an acceptable season. We still have a good chance to finish in the top four and we are in the semi-final of the FA Cup.”
Wenger said after the loss at The Hawthorns that he would reveal his future plans “soon”, but he would not offer a more specific time frame.
“I said I know what I want to do,” he said. “It depends on what soon means to you and what soon means for me.
“I was in a very difficult position sometimes and I’ve always chosen Arsenal but one day it will stop. Is it today, is it tomorrow, is it in two years or is it before? I don’t know but as long as I am here I’m ready to fight and give absolutely everything to the club I love.
“Not only because it’s Arsenal but for its values and what this club means to people all over the world. This club has become a world brand, not only for its consistent achievements but also for its values and I’m ready to fight for that. I have always done in my life what I think in football is right and when I am wrong I stand up and I say sorry because I’m not perfect.”
Amid plenty of speculation about his Arsenal future, Alexis Sanchez has outlined hopes to remain in the city long term.
Alexis Sanchez says he is happy in London and hopes to see out his contract at Arsenal.
With the Gunners struggling in the Premier League this season and potentially missing out on Champions League qualification, despite Sanchez’s fine form, the Chile international has been linked with a move away from the club.
Boss Arsene Wenger, whose own future is in the spotlight, revealed last week that Arsenal have put contract talks with Sanchez and Mesut Ozil on hold until the end of the season after failing to reach an agreement.
Sanchez has now said he wants to stay in London, even if he may not extend his deal at the Emirates Stadium that expires in 2018.
“I am happy in London and I hope to finish my contract at Arsenal,”
he told El Grafico at a media event in Chile, having starred in his country’s 3-1 win over Venezuela.
“I want to stay in a winning team and keep playing in the same city.
I want to play in a team that has aspirations.
“I’m 28 years old, I still have a lot ahead of me. I am a player who takes great care of himself.”
Sanchez has netted 64 goals across his first three seasons at Arsenal, winning the FA Cup in his debut campaign.
Recent Form Arsenal – L W L L W L W
Recent Form Manchester City – D L W D W W W
Prediction – 1-2