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Wenger: Pressure's off us

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger feels the pressure is slightly off his side now they have come through the toughest run of fixtures he has ever had in English football.

The Gunners have in the past month played all three fellow members of the so-called 'Big Four' as well as Aston Villa, picking up a total of four points from that quartet of games.

Wenger admits such a schedule took its toll on his young squad but is delighted to see them still on the coattails of Chelsea and Manchester United, the league's front two, as the championship enters the business end of the season.

And the Frenchman, who has guided the Gunners to wins over Liverpool and Sunderland in their past two league matches, reckons his men have turned the corner as they eye a first title since 2004.

"It has been very difficult for us," said Wenger, whose side play mid-table Stoke this evening ahead of what, on paper at least, appears a comfortable run-in. "It's the first time since I've been in the game that we have played Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool in four games (in succession), and I think that was a little bit unfair."

STOKE CITY v ARSENAL,

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