Arsene Wenger has admitted Saturday lunchtime’s clash with West Brom will be vital – but admits Arsenal have a “tough job” of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
The Gunners have reached the Champions League for 20 straight seasons but currently sit five points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, despite having two matches in charge.
Wenger, however, is focused on Saturday’s clash with West Brom and knows the Baggies will pose a serious test.
“They have experienced, organised and efficient from set pieces,” Wenger said. “This season they have done very well in midfield and up front. It is a balanced team with good size, very equipped to deal with the Premier League.
Asked about the importance of the trip to The Hawthorns and Wenger continued: “For us it is vital. It is a strange championship because there is no continuity.
“You don’t really know where you stand you haven’t played the same number of games but what is for sure is we are in a position where we cannot waste points.
“You can never afford to lose.
“West Brom is traditionally a tough game but it is also a chance for us to come back to a position that is much closer.”
Wenger on Champions League prospects
Wenger was asked if he was confident of qualifying for the Champions League, but was cagey with his reply
“It is not down to me to judge that I leave that to you,” he continued. “We want to play in the CL next season we have a tough job with six, seven teams fighting for the places.
“We are in the semi-final of the FA Cup and have an opportunity to do that. Success is to take the maximum out of the potential of the team. Nothing is good enough anymore so you try to do the best you can.”
Wenger was asked if it’s been a positive week for the club after pressure from supporters appeared to ease.
“Yes it has been,” he said. “I know when you don’t win you don’t have a happy week.”
And what about the protests?
“I have nothing to say about that anymore. I have talked enough about that.”
Arsenal team news
“Kieran Gibbs is uncertain and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a test today,” the Frenchman said. “[Mohamed] Elneny has joined again so apart from the long term injuries we should have everybody available.
“Elneny looked at the start a very bad ankle injury but he has recovered well and is keen to come back as quickly as possible.
Wenger on FA Cup semi-final draw
Wenger was then asked about the FA Cup draw, which saw the Gunners pitted against Manchester City in the Wembley semi-final.
“It is a tough challenge but promises an exciting game as well,” he said. “Two teams who will go in a positive mood.”