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Saturday 16 December 2017

Under-fire Wenger takes aim at Spurs

ARSENAL must forget the disappointment of another year without a trophy and focus on winning next weekend's north London derby against Tottenham, according to manager Arsene Wenger.

Wednesday's 4-0 Champions League defeat by AC Milan, which almost certainly eliminated them from the competition, was compounded on Saturday when they crashed out of the FA Cup in the fifth round with a 2-0 loss at Sunderland.

The Gunners will therefore, barring miracles, head into an eighth season without a major trophy, and they may well do so without even the consolation of a Champions League spot.

Arsenal are currently in fourth place in the Premier League table but lead Chelsea only on goals scored.

Great rivals Tottenham, meanwhile, are 10 points ahead in third place and will hope to do the double over Arsenal when they travel to Emirates Stadium next Sunday after winning 2-1 at White Hart Lane in October.

COMPETITION

Asked about another trophyless season, Wenger said: "The competition is very hard in England. I do not want to speak too much about that.

"At the moment we have to forget all that and focus on our next game and try to win it."

The Frenchman was understandably on the defensive at the end of a miserable week, and he also confirmed he will be without Francis Coquelin, Sebastien Squillaci and Aaron Ramsey for the Tottenham clash.

Addressing whether Arsenal are at crisis point, Wenger said: "It depends what you call a crisis. Every time we lose a game we have a crisis.

"We have played 15 years in the top four, which is a mark of our consistency."

Wenger found an ally in Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill, who does not believe the Frenchman deserves the criticism that is being aimed at him.

"We haven't always seen eye to eye but I think he's been fantastic for the English game," said O'Neill.

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