Salvage what you can: Wenger urges Arsenal to secure European spot

Manager disappointed after 1-1 draw with Palace ended any title hopes for Gunners

Afp April 18, 2016
Bolasie all but ended Arsenal’s title hopes as he scored an 81st minute equaliser to stop the Gunners running away with a win. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON/MANCHESTER: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants his side to repair the “mental damage” of a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace when they face West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Thursday.

The Gunners blew a chance to take a major step towards securing Champions League qualification for a remarkable 19th successive season after being held at home by London rivals Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Arsenal led via Alexis Sanchez’s header in first-half stoppage time and dominated throughout before Yannick Bolasie’s equaliser in the 81st minute ensured the home side were greeted with a chorus of boos come the final whistle.

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Wenger’s men are still fourth in the table, occupying the last of the automatic Champions League places on offer to English clubs, but Manchester United are just four points behind in fifth with five games remaining.

Sunday’s result ended Arsenal’s already-slim hopes of winning the title and veteran Gunners boss Wenger said: “We are too disappointed to think about the league, we have to think about the Champions League and fight to be in the Champions League.”

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City aim to finish with flourish

Manchester City look to be saving their best until last as they aim to finish a testing season on a high.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side have a Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid to look forward to in the Chilean’s last few weeks in charge at the Etihad Stadium.

And when City travel to relegation-threatened Newcastle United today, they will be chasing a fourth successive Premier League win.

A sustained title challenge never really materialised as City suffered from injuries and a loss of form at key moments as both Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur got away from them at the top of the table.

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But City’s late burst should be enough to secure them a top-four place and guaranteed Champions League football for next season.

Saturday’s 3-0 win over soon-to-be-deposed English champions Chelsea, which featured Sergio Aguero’s hat-trick, suggested City are nearing top form and midfielder Yaya Toure said: “We played very well. I think it was one of the best games we’ve played this season.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th,  2016.

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