Wenger panicking over Arsenal’s top-four hopes

Date published: Monday 18th April 2016 7:54

Arsene Wenger is concerned for Arsenal’s Champions League qualification hopes after another frustrating afternoon for the Gunners.

Arsenal’s bid for a 20th consecutive top-four finish remains in the balance after Yannick Bolasie’s late strike cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s first-half opener to earn Crystal Palace a 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium.

It leaves Wenger’s men in fourth place, behind Manchester City on goal difference and 13 points adrift of leaders Leicester with five games to play.

Fifth-placed Manchester United are four points behind, with West Ham also lurking, leaving the Gunners’ hopes of an 18th successive season in the Champions League under threat.

“Honestly, after the game (against Palace) I’m not in that kind of mood to dream about the championship,” Wenger said.

“I am more in the kind of mood to repair the mental damage and prepare for the next game (on Thursday against West Brom).

“It’s much more about that and to look behind us, because everybody is playing well and winning games.

“For us it could be a fight until the end to get the place in the top four.

“If we can do more, we will do more, but let’s not dream and focus on the next game.”

The lack of incision to find a second goal left Wenger with a feeling of frustration.

“I’m very, very disappointed,” Wenger added.

“You have to sometimes win one nil and this was one of these days.

“We had 70 per cent time with the ball and we didn’t make enough of it.”

As Arsenal toiled in attack, Palace looked increasingly threatening on the break and former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor shrugged off the jeers to tee-up Bolasie, whose 20-yard shot Petr Cech should have saved.

“We gave a goal away that was avoidable. That’s the regret of the day,” Wenger added.

Palace moved to 39 points, but stayed 16th. Norwich are eight points behind, with Sunderland and Newcastle nine and 11 points adrift respectively.

Eagles boss Alan Pardew refused to categorically say his side were safe ahead of Wednesday’s league trip to Manchester United and Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Watford. But he was looking up the standings.

“It’s going to be difficult for two of those teams below us to get 40 points,” added Pardew, who will make changes at Old Trafford to give players an opportunity to earn a Wembley start.

“I think we’re a mid-table team. We need to prove that. I’ll be disappointed if we finish lower than 15th.”

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