Arsene Wenger hits back at Paul Scholes criticism of Arsenal

Arsene Wenger has rejected claims by ex-Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes that his Arsenal side are a "million miles" from winning the title.

Fourth-placed Arsenal are six points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

"People who have managed zero games have opinions. We have to accept that," said Wenger, whose side face third-placed Manchester City on Saturday.

Arsenal v Manchester City: Key stats & Premier League preview

"If six points is a 'million miles away', I don't know what the translation of a mile into a point is."

In his role as a television pundit for Sky Sports, Scholes criticised Arsenal following their 2-2 home draw against Swansea City on Tuesday.

A late own goal from Mathieu Flamini saw the Gunners drop two vital points in their bid to win a first Premier League title since 2004.

The draw came just three days after the 6-0 defeat at Chelsea, while Wenger's side have also suffered heavy losses at title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

"I feel for the Arsenal fans. They get a little hint of the title for a few weeks and go to Chelsea, to Liverpool, to City and they just do nothing," said Scholes.

"Fans expect Arsenal to go for the league and I know they are third or fourth but they are a million miles away in my eyes."

Wenger also dismissed the ex-England international's opinion that Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere, 22, has "not improved since he was 17".

History against Arsenal

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal are six points off the top with seven games remaining. No team has made up a deficit that big after 31 matches of a season since the Premier League began. The biggest margin overturned came in 2011-12, when Manchester City won the title from five points behind.

"Jack has been handicapped by many injuries, but once he is back and playing consistently he will show everybody that [Scholes] is wrong about that," said the Frenchman.

"He is an exceptional player - and Scholes knows that."

Arsenal could move level on 66 points with Manchester City, who have played two games fewer, if they beat Manuel Pellegrini's side at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger concedes it is his team's last chance to stay in the title race, but insists they have not given up hope of overhauling their rivals.

"We have got to keep going, despite the last two negative results," he said.

"City are favourites with Chelsea and Liverpool to win the title but when you play one of the favourites you have the opportunity to shorten the distance.

"Champions keep going when everybody else would give up and we have an opportunity to show we have that mentality on Saturday."

Meanwhile, he remains "confident" that France right-back Bacary Sagna, 31, will sign a new contract with the Gunners.

Sagna's existing deal runs out in the summer and he has been linked with a move to Manchester City or Italian side Inter Milan.

Premier League title run-in

Chelsea

Liverpool

Man City

Arsenal

29-30 March

C Palace (A)

Spurs (H)

Arsenal (A)

Man City (H)

5-6 April

Stoke (H)

W Ham (A)

So'ton (H)

Everton (A)

13 April

Swansea (A)

Man City (H)

Liverpool (A)

15-16 April

S'land (H)

W Ham (H)

19-21 April

S'land (H)

Norwich (A)

WBA (H)

Hull (A)

27-28 April

Liverpool (A)

Chelsea (H)

C Palace (A)

N'castle (H)

3 May

Norwich (H)

C Palace (A)

Everton (A)

WBA (H)

7 May

A Villa (H)

11 May

Cardiff (A)

N'castle (H)

W Ham (H)

Norwich (A)