- Premier League
Wenger shelves Arsenal title tilt
Arsene Wenger has told his Arsenal players to forget about the title and concentrate on securing the club's place in the Premier League's top four.
The manager does not want his team looking too far ahead after a series of slips, including humiliations such as their 6-0 "nightmare" defeat by Chelsea, has left seen the gap between them and the leaders open up.
Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Swansea at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday left them six points behind Chelsea, at the top, and three behind second-placed Manchester City, who have played two games fewer. Below them, Everton are chasing hard, sitting six points adrift of Wenger's side but with a game in hand and Arsenal still to play at Goodison park.
Yet another Arsenal injury blow
- Arsene Wenger will not be able to turn to Aaron Ramsey to give his Arsenal team a much-needed filip after the midfielder suffered another injury setback.
- The Wales international has been out since the end of December and his manager has admitted to recovery setbacks twice already.
- Wenger, after Arsenal drew with Swansea, said: "Ramsey is maybe two weeks. He's had a setback. He's had some scar tissue, then you have to slow down and the tendon is in a sensitive place. You always have to push but not too far. Koscielny is out for a while, after that Ozil is at least two or three weeks."
"Manchester City look a bit unstoppable and are favourites because they still have two games in hand," Wenger said. "City and Chelsea are the favourites for the title. We don't have much room to come back into it.
"At the moment the title is not our biggest worry and we just have to try to be realistic and we have to come back in the next game.
"We have to look behind us and we also have to look in front of us. Everton won at Newcastle so we have, of course, to focus and prepare well for the next game. It will be open until the end, we can still have some surprises."
Arsenal's next three games are likely to shape the season, dictating how much of the promise showed earlier in the campaign can be realised.
They face City at Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening before meeting Everton in the league and Wigan in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Injuries may play a part, too, and Wenger admitted his squad have struggled with fitness problems as Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil are sidelined short-term and Theo Walcott is out for the season.
A Mathieu Flamini error gifted Swansea their second goal on Tuesday and Arsenal's performance came under fire from pundits for lacking guts.
But the manager is focused on getting his first-choice team out. Wenger said: "We have to get some players back, it's difficult to fight with half the team out. We have to do as well as we can and accept our position at the end of the season.
"But at the moment we have to recover from a huge disappointment that we have and prepare for a big game on Saturday.
"The result was very disappointing but the spirit we put in and the effort we put in was great.
"We have to take it on the chin. We did the most difficult thing, coming back to 2-1 and after that you could see that maybe we were too focused on keeping the result and maybe too conservative.
"We just wanted to win the game without pushing any more forward. A mistake happened unfortunately and it created a result we didn't want tonight."