Arsene Wenger: Arsenal should treat every game 'like a cup final'

By David OrnsteinBBC Sport at the Reebok Stadium
Arsene Wenger avoided losing four Premier League games in a row for the first time at Arsenal
Arsene Wenger avoided losing four Premier League games in a row for the first time at Arsenal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed his side to finish in the top four this season but admits they must treat every match "like a cup final".

A 0-0 draw at Bolton leaves the Gunners seventh in the Premier League with just one point from their last four games.

"There's a long way to go - I'm confident we can come back," said Wenger.

"Every game in the championship is a cup final now. We have confidence but we have to produce it game by game."

Arsenal's point at the Reebok Stadium meant they avoided a fourth straight league defeat for the first time in Wenger's 16-year tenure.

But sitting five points behind fourth-place Chelsea with 15 games left, they face a struggle to finish among the Champions League places.

The lowest Arsenal have ended a campaign under Wenger is fourth.

They remain in contention for the FA Cup and Champions League and Wenger is hoping the return to fitness of several players will prompt an upturn in fortunes.

"We have gone through a difficult period," stated the Frenchman. "We lost three championship games [against Fulham, Swansea and Manchester United] but we could have won them.

"We go into a period where we play in the FA Cup, we play in the Champions League and combining all these three will be difficult, so it's important that we do not have more injuries.

"We have [Bacary] Sagna back, [Kieran] Gibbs is not far and [Mikel] Arteta is back, so overall I hope we can cope with it."

Wenger has been heavily criticised by some Arsenal supporters in recent weeks but Bolton boss Owen Coyle believes the Gunners will bounce back.

"They've suffered with injuries to key players," said the Scot. "But when Arsenal have their full disposal of players they can go toe-to-toe with anybody.

"Who's to say that Arsenal can't win the FA Cup or Champions League? I certainly wouldn't write them off.

"They've one of the best managers we've had in world football, they've an elite squad of players and there's no doubt it only takes one big performance, one big result to kick-start that momentum again.

"I'm pretty sure Arsenal will look to be in amongst the honours when they are handed out at the end of the season."