Wenger looks to Gun­ners to keep pres­sure on Chelsea

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Arsene Wenger be­lieves Arse­nal are in the ‘fight’ for their first Pre­mier League ti­tle since 2004 and in­sists the Gun­ners will main­tain the pres­sure on lead­ers Chelsea in today’s trip to out of sorts Ever­ton.

Arse­nal have not lost in the Pre­mier League since the open­ing day of the sea­son, and had a short stay at the top at the week­end be­fore Chelsea eked out a 1-0 win over West Brom to main­tain their three point lead.

With a visit to bot­tom side Sun­der­land to­mor­row they should re­tain top spot ahead of next week­end’s games.

Wenger, though, is pleased with the way his side have pro­gressed from last sea­son when they fin­ished a dis­tant sec­ond to Le­ices­ter hav­ing never posed a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge. “At the minute there is no dif­fer­ence any­way with the other teams,” said Wenger.

“But we are in there. So that’s good-we are in the fight. “We were not too bad last year but I be­lieve we have im­proved. I be­lieve that we have cre­ated con­fi­dence.”

Wenger will be with­out the im­pres­sive Ger­man in­ter­na­tional Sko­hdran Mustafi, who went off in the 3-1 win over Stoke with a ham­string in­jury, which will be mu­sic to the ears of Bel­gian in­ter­na­tional Romelu Lukaku.

He re­turned to form with a brace in the 3-2 de­feat to Wat­ford but Ron­ald Koe­man’s hon­ey­moon with the Ever­ton fans is well and truly over af­ter a run of just one win in 10 games.

Chelsea’s trip to Sun­der­land shouldn’t pose too many prob­lems-even with ru­mours swirling they may be pun­ished with a points de­duc­tion over the play­ers role in the an­gry cli­max to the Manch­ester City match ear­lier this month-de­spite the Black Cats hav­ing won three of their pre­vi­ous five matches. Chelsea man­ager An­to­nio Conte has proved the doubters wrong in send­ing out a far more flu­ent and hap­pier side than the one that led to Jose Mour­inho be­ing sacked last sea­son. Diego Costa, who scored his 12th goal of the sea­son on Sun­day, is one of those who have been trans­formed and Conte is ex­pect­ing the 28-yearold to get even bet­ter. “I’m happy for him be­cause he is show­ing great pas­sion. In ev­ery game he is show­ing great com­mit­ment and work rate to help the team,” said Conte.

The two Lon­don clubs gained some breath­ing space at the week­end as the chas­ing pack all dropped points-Manch­ester City and Spurs both los­ing and Liver­pool held 2-2 at home by strug­gling West Ham. Spurs-who host strug­gling Hull on Wed­nes­day-could at least point to a nar­row 10 de­feat by Manch­ester United whereas Pep Guardi­ola’s prob­lems ap­pear to be mount­ing with City’s 4-2 hum­bling by Le­ices­ter.

Guardi­ola, whose side have won just four times in 15 matches, didn’t of­fer much in the way of a so­lu­tion to his play­ers in­abil­ity to tackle.

They failed to win one in the open­ing 35 min­utes against Le­ices­ter some­thing which the Wat­ford for­wards will be lick­ing their lips at ahead of to­mor­row’s clash.

“I am not a coach for the tack­les. I don’t train for tack­les. What I want is to try to play well and score goals. What are tack­les?,” said Guardi­ola.

“I have to im­prove, but I want to play the foot­ball I feel be­cause of course it is sim­ple to say ‘con­cede fewer goals and score more’.”

Jose Mour­inho will be hop­ing United’s win over Spurs will spark a se­quence of wins es­pe­cially as three of their next four are against teams in trou­ble start­ing away at Crys­tal Palace to­mor­row.

As ever, though the ‘Spe­cial One’ pre­ferred to look at a half empty glass. “We can (win them all), but to play at Palace, it is not an easy match,” said Mour­inho. “To play at West Brom is not an easy match and to play at home against two teams that will fight des­per­ately for a point, Mid­dles­brough and Sun­der­land, teams that want to avoid rel­e­ga­tion, will be dif­fi­cult too. “So four winnable matches, yes, but also matches where we can lose points.” —AFP

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