Wenger: We need to look over our shoulder

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Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal can’t keep dropping points in the league if they’re to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

While the manager hasn’t yet surrendered hope of an unlikely league triumph he’s also well aware that the likes of Manchester United, West Ham, Southampton and Liverpool are breathing down their necks just outside the top four.

The Gunners have won only once in their last nine games and face a tricky showdown with Everton tomorrow afternoon, a game they can’t afford to lose.

“Of course, we need to look over our shoulders because it’s very tight,” Wenger told press on Friday.

“I believe the Premier League [title race] is far from over. But we also have to look behind us because things can change very quickly. We want to move forward, but I’m conscious that our position is not secure, even where we are. Things will change between now and the end of the season, that’s for sure.

“We want to move forward, but I’m conscious that our position is not secure, even where we are. Things will change between now and the end of the season, that’s for sure.

“West Ham are a threat. They’ve had very positive results at home, and went to Manchester United in the FA Cup and drew 1-1, so they are a threat. But we have to take care of our own destiny, and that’s by producing the performances we expect from ourselves.

“We have to give 100% to finish well in the Premier League and be in the fight until the end.”

That we’re worrying about dropping into the Europa League places when we were top of the table at the end of January is nigh-on farcical, but that’s the reality right now. A win tomorrow would certainly settle a few nerves ahead of a busy April schedule that takes in five league games.

Wenger was also eager to downplay the pressure on his beleaguered strikeforce whose inefficiency was brought into sharp focus on Wednesday night when they shared a pitch with prolific Barcelona trio, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Emphasising the job of the entire team to help the attackers, the boss continued: “I always believe that let’s improve the quality of our game and then the strikers will benefit from that. It’s always delicate to blame one or two individuals when you’re not scoring enough.

“If we continue to play like we did in Barcelona, our strikers will score. We create good opportunities. We are one of the best at creating opportunities in the Premier League, if not the best.

“Maybe we have to increase the quality of those opportunities, but it’s maybe linked to the confidence. Maybe the strikers are a bit desperate to score at the moment, but it will come back.”

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