Arsene Wenger says Arsenal can finish second in the league


Arsene Wenger says finishing second in the Premier League is not out of Arsenal's reach.

Wenger has recently seen his side beaten by Blackburn in the FA Cup and Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Race for second - key games

Man City Chelsea Spurs Arsenal

Everton (A) 16 March

Spurs (H) 14 April

Arsenal (H) 3 March

Spurs (A) 3 March

Man Utd (A) 8 April

Liverpool (A) 21 April

Chelsea (A) 14 April

Everton (H) 9 March

Spurs (A) 21 April

Man Utd (A) 4 May

Man City (H) 21 April

Man Utd (H) 28 April

But he believes they can secure the runners-up spot in the league, despite being nine points behind second-placed Manchester City with 11 games left.

"Man City is not out of reach. It could be a tight fight until the end," said the Arsenal boss.

Despite enduring a torrid time last week in cup competition, Arsenal's 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday was their third straight league success, following victories against Sunderland and Stoke.

Yet they remain fifth in the table, behind City, Chelsea and Tottenham ahead of the north London derby at White Hart Lane on 3 March.

Tottenham start Monday's game at West Ham in fourth, one point ahead of Arsenal but knowing victory at Upton Park will lift them two points above third-placed Chelsea.

Manchester United, who Arsenal still have to play at Emirates Stadium on 28 April, are 21 points clear of the Gunners at the top of the table.

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez suggested before his team's 2-0 defeat at Manchester City on Sunday that a top-two finish could be out of reach if the Blues lost at Etihad Stadium.

"We have to go there with confidence and if we are close we can fight for being in the top two," said Benitez before the weekend.

"And if not we have to fight for being in the top four."

Arsenal's league finishes since they won the title in 2003-04

2012-13 5th 47 pts (after 27 games)

2011-12: 3rd 70 pts

2010-11: 4th 68 pts

2009-10: 3rd 75 pts

2008-09: 4th 72 pts

2007-08: 3rd 83 pts

2006-07: 4th 68 pts

2005-06: 4th 67 pts

2004-05: 2nd 83 pts

Yet Wenger believes his team can not only overtake Tottenham and Chelsea but also overhaul City and qualify automatically for a place in next season's Champions League group stage.

"I'm not sure it will only be a fight with Tottenham," he added when asked about the battle for fourth. "I'm not sure the other places are not reachable.

"Chelsea are just ahead and even Manchester City is not out of reach. It could be a tight fight until the end."

Arsenal have not finished outside the Premier League's top four since Wenger took charge in September 1996.

The last time they ended the season in the top two was in 2004-05 when they were runners-up to Chelsea.