London: Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger on Friday said that Tottenham Hotspur finishing above his team in the English Premier League (EPL) football standings will be a one-off thing.
Second-placed Tottenham hold a three-point gap over Wenger’s men going into the final two fixtures of the season, with the former going up against Southampton and Newcastle United, and the latter facing Manchester City and Aston Villa.
Tottenham’s hopes of being crowned EPL champions were dashed by Chelsea on Monday at the Stamford Bridge and Mauricio Pochettino’s men are now looking to ensure they end the season above their north London rivals.
“It’s not over, let’s see what happens until the end of the season. If Tottenham finish above Arsenal you can at least say it’s a one off because it has not happened in 20 years. We will fight until the end to make sure we have a chance of coming second,” Wenger told arsenal.com.
“Tottenham have had a good season — they didn’t manage to finish very strongly recently but they have a good team. Our target is still to finish in front of them,” the Frenchman added.
Wenger also stressed the importance of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City.
Arsenal can avoid a Champions League play-off next year if they secure third position in the Premier League with a victory at the Etihad Stadium, while also maintaining pressure on Tottenham in second place.
With the Copa America and Euro 2016 taking place this summer, Wenger is keen to avoid the prospect of added fixtures next term.
“Sunday’s game is still important, even if Leicester are champions today and we are second best. It is still a very important game because part of the responsibility of being professional is to prepare the future. The future of Arsenal Football Club depends on this game,” he said.
“There’s a European Championship and there’s a Copa America (in the summer). To get our players back, we made a schedule. It’s absolutely very difficult because the European Championship finishes on July 10,” added Wenger, who is Arsenal’s head coach since 1996.
“If you think that you have to give at least three to four weeks of holiday to the players who go to the end (of the tournament), that means they come back at the beginning of August.
“Our target now is to secure a position in the Champions League next year. If possible, to get second place or at least secure third place. On Sunday we can achieve that. We still have two games, and if we win those two games we will be alright.”