Arsenal host Manchester City today at the Emirates Stadium, as Christmas approaches. The home side is currently second in the league five points behind leader Leicester City. Manchester City, is third, with just a point behind Arsenal. Despite both managers insisting today’s fixture doesn’t define the title race it does holds weightage to who will hold second position on Christmas.
The Gunners haven’t won the league since the season of 2003-04, and they finally have hopes of winning it this season. However, while Manchester City might seem the biggest threat to their title hopes, Arsene Wenger says it is Leicester that worries him more. Although he takes comfort in the fact that Arsenal is the only team who has managed to defeat them this season so far.
“We are the only team who has beaten Leicester basically, and in a convincing way,” Wenger said. “The character is down to consistency in life. That’s what I call character. All of us can be for one day in our life exceptional but character is to have a target and maintain your focus on that target. That’s what I call character and that’s what we have to show in the league.”
Wenger has admitted that it is the improved team spirit that has contributed to Gunners’ success on-field. He added, “What I feel is great team spirit and great unity in the dressing room, and focus to go forward, that’s for sure. After that, we have to answer on the pitch are we good enough.”
That said, taking Leicester lightly is not a good idea as the Foxes have as much chances of winning the league as them. He recalls French club, Nantes winning the league 20 years ago.
Wenger said, “It happened once in my life, in 1995, when a friend of mine Jean-Claude Suaudeau was coaching Nantes and he called me at the beginning of the season and asked me to give him on loan one of my players who was not 100 percent regular. I said: “I cannot give him to you on loan because I need him”. He said: “You’re unfair because I will go down, they have sold my players and I have nobody left.” He won the championship that year.
“I said: “For f***’s sake, 32 games unbeaten”. Because he had no choice he played all the young players. In the end he won the championship. That’s the first time I’d seen it. Now we have a second.”
Leicester City has won every single game in the Premier League except the one they lost 5-2 to Arsenal at home. Since then they have managed to win against Chelsea and Everton and will face Liverpool on Boxing day.