Arsene Wenger: Arsenal boss says top four 'not as easy as it looks'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Wenger's Arsenal have not finished outside the top four since he joined in 1996

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his side's struggles this season prove finishing in the Premier League's top four is "not as easy as it looks".

The Frenchman has led the Gunners to a top-four spot and Champions League qualification for the past 20 seasons.

But with 10 games left, they are currently in sixth place, seven points off the league's leading quartet.

"It [finishing in the top four] is a good challenge but I think it is perfectly possible," said Wenger.

"I have done it for 20 years and it looked always like nothing. Suddenly, it becomes important so I'm quite pleased people realise that it is not as easy as it looks."

In 2012, Wenger compared finishing in the top four to winning a trophy and that view was recently echoed by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

"If you listen to Guardiola, he said the other day that to finish in the top four in England is a trophy because it is so difficult," he added.

Latest on Wenger & Sanchez contracts?

Wenger's contract at Arsenal expires at the end of the season and speaking before Wednesday's game with West Ham, he was again asked if he would extend his stay.

He has been offered a new two-year deal and reiterated he would make his decision public "soon".

Talks about extending forward Alexis Sanchez's contract beyond June 2018 are on hold until the summer and, despite the Chile international being linked with Chelsea, Wenger played down concerns over the 28-year-old's future.

"I don't see what all the debate is about," said Wenger. "We are professional football people. Our job is to perform as long as we are somewhere.

"I don't understand this kind of anxiety one and a half years before the end of contracts. It is denying what the professional guy is about."

'Serious' injury for Koscielny

The Gunners will be without centre-back Laurent Koscielny on Wednesday, and Wenger fears the France international could face a lengthy absence.

Koscielny was substituted at half-time during Sunday's 2-2 draw with Manchester City and will have a scan on an Achilles injury.

"It is certainly serious," said Wenger.

"If he has ruptured a few fibres of his tendon it could be a few weeks. If it is just an inflammation he could be available next week against Crystal Palace."

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