Arsene Wenger banking on Arsenal consistency in top-four fight
Their hopes in this season`s competition are hanging by a thread but when it comes to qualifying for the Champions League Arsenal have no peers in English football.
London: Their hopes in this season`s competition are hanging by a thread but when it comes to qualifying for the Champions League Arsenal have no peers in English football.
Arsenal`s consistency towards the end of the Premier League season has become as predictable as the spring-time daffodils.
They have qualified for the Champions League 17 years in a row despite several close-run scraps for a top-four finish with the likes of local rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Everton.
The Gunners, in third place, are going for a fourth consecutive league victory when they face London rivals Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Wednesday.
It looks a tricky fixture on paper with QPR battling for top-flight survival, but is the kind of game Arsenal have made a habit of winning in recent seasons when their rivals were hoping for a slip-up from Arsene Wenger`s side.
"It will be very, very tight and it will be down to consistency in our results and mental strength," Wenger told a news conference on Tuesday. "That will certainly be needed again on Wednesday night.
"There`s a long way to go but once you`re in March the acceleration is there for the final sprint and what you basically have to do is not look too much at other teams, just focus on what you want to do and how you can do it."
Arsenal, stunned at home by AS Monaco in the Champions League last 16 last week, are nine points behind leaders Chelsea, who have a game in hand, but stuttering champions Manchester City are a mere four points ahead of them.
Fourth-placed Manchester United are a point behind the Gunners and Liverpool are coming up fast on the rails, moving to within two points of the top four.
"You look in front and Manchester City are four points ahead of us, and you look behind and there`s plenty of people chasing us," Wenger said.
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey returns to the squad for the trip to QPR after limping off shortly after coming on as a substitute against Leicester City last month.