Monday 25 September 2017

Best chance in years for Arsenal to win title – Wenger

Arsene Wenger's current deal expires at the end of the season
Arsene Wenger's current deal expires at the end of the season

Jack Pitt-Brooke

ArsEne Wenger is ready to spent the rest of his career at Arsenal and believes that this season represents the Gunners' best chance of winning the Premier League for nine years.

The league leaders have not won a major trophy since 2005, and in the following years have lost world-class players including Ashley Cole, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie.

But after years of drift and frustration, Wenger feels his team are far closer to having the "experience and quality" that decides title races than they have been for almost a decade.

Since their last title success – claimed by the 'Invincibles' of 2003-04 – and their last trophy, the 2005 FA Cup, Arsenal have been involved in a few title races but without success.

In 2007-08 they were five points clear with 12 games left, but finished third.

In 2009-10 they were top with seven games remaining but ended third, and in 2010-11 they were one point behind Manchester United with 11 games left but faded dramatically and finished fourth.

This season, though, with all their best players retained and Mesut Ozil signed, Wenger believes Arsenal can put up more of a fight.

EXPECTATION

"This is the first season that we have not only not lost a big player but bought a big player, so that's what is new for us," he said ahead of today's visit to Swansea.

"What is important is that level of expectation is high. In recent years, because we have lost players we had to face a lower level of expectation, and that is quite hard for me.

"Until 2005 we were a team who could compete every season to win the championship. After we moved into the new stadium – that is not a coincidence that suddenly we were a bit ...

"Maybe we missed that little bit of experience and quality that makes the difference in April. I think if we are in April this time competing for the championship we will be in a much stronger position."

As for his own future, Wenger predicted that talks over extending his contract should be "straightforward".

The Frenchman had previously suggested that he needed to prove himself before committing beyond this season but yesterday gave a clear indication that he wants to sign a deal that will take him into an unprecedented third decade at the club.

Monday will be the 17th anniversary of Wenger's arrival at Arsenal and, during that time he has turned down the chance to manage Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris St-Germain and England. (© Independent News Service)

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