Wednesday 19 September 2018

Wenger: I won't make bold predictions about Arsenal next season

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger refused to make any bold predictions about his in-form Arsenal side despite the Gunners breaking the 100-mark for goals in all competitions this season.

Arsenal swept aside Hull City 3-1 on Monday night to increase Steve Bruce's side's relegation fears and make Wenger's men favourite to claim second spot in the Premier League behind champions Chelsea.

But asked if he believed Arsenal would be ready to challenge for the title next season, Wenger added: "Ask me in August - give me a little breather. I'm not a prophet. Football is unpredictable. No one knows how strong teams will be at the start of the season. What is important is to start strong.

"What is at stake now is to finish second. If we maintain our run we will do that and then the FA Cup final.

"We gave everything to come back into the title. There were a few turning points - the first was not starting well the season. Another was Chelsea at QPR when they didn't drop points. They were very consistent. They lost only two games."

READ MORE: Gunners hit Hull hard to secure top four spot

The win at the KC Stadium means the Gunners have scored 100 goals in all competitions this season, are in the Champions League next season and are in pole position to finish second.

It also extended Arsenal's unbeaten run to 10 games - of which nine have been wins - and came via two Alexis Sanchez goals, his 23rd and 24th of the season, either side of Aaron Ramsey's deflected finish.

It could have been embarrassing for the Tigers but they responded in the second half and had a Stephen Quinn header in reply.

Jack Wilshere came off the bench for his first appearance since ankle surgery in November, while Wenger said it was "only a question of days" until Danny Welbeck can return from an inflamed knee.

Hull boss Steve Bruce admitted it became a case of damage limitation in the second half but rued his team's mistakes - and luck.

He said: "One thing we wanted to do in the second half is make sure it's not one of those ridiculously horrible evenings. When they have their tails up and are playing well Arsenal are as good as any team in Europe.

"We stuck at it in difficult circumstances. They are hard enough to play against when they get proper goals so to have two deflections was cruel.

"But you can't give the ball away, and that's so unlike us, especially in the middle of the pitch - we needed the luck and the roof has caved in."

Hull face fellow strugglers Burnley on Saturday in a potentially decisive game at the bottom.

"It's not going to keep us up or send us down," Bruce added. "But we've still got it all to do. It's a big game and this has been a difficult evening so we have to dust ourselves down and if we can get a result it will be a brighter picture."

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