Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce believes Arsenal have passed up a glorious opportunity to win the Premier League title this season.
Sunday’s goalless draw at the Stadium of Light means the Gunners now no longer have a mathematical chance of catching leaders Leicester as a campaign during which Chelsea and Manchester United have never really been in the mix draws to a close.
Asked if he thought this was their year, Allardyce said: “Oh yes, I’m sure Arsene thought it was going to be his year as well.
“On the basis of what Manchester United were doing… and Chelsea… the window opened. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t quite taken that opportunity and that window.
“But they are still in the top four again, they are still going to qualify for Europe and of course, I would just like to be fourth from bottom.”
The Black Cats are currently fourth from bottom after climbing out of the drop zone on goal difference as a result of their draw with Arsenal, although they, Norwich and Newcastle are separated by a single point with Sunderland and the Canaries having four games each left to play and the Magpies three.
They might have been two points further ahead, however, had Patrick van Aanholt’s free-kick not come back off the crossbar, or had goalkeeper Petr Cech not made a string of fine second-half saves.
Allardyce said: “Our destiny is in our own hands with four games to go, so we’ll see whether we can maintain this level of performance and produce it at Stoke City next week.”
For Wenger, it proved to be another frustrating afternoon as his team dominated for long periods, but could not find a way past keeper Vito Mannone.
Striker Olivier Giroud is now without a goal in 14 league games, but his manager is confident he will find his form once again.
Wenger said: “Olivier cannot score, so you feel that he is not completely at the same level of confidence. But you go through spells like that and I believe we have to support him and give him the needed confidence.
“His performances are more about his confidence, but I think he will come back. He has gone through spells like that before.”