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Wenger: Arsenal aren´t serial chokers

SoccerNews in English Premier League 28 Feb 2016

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger denied the Premier League title hopefuls are serial chokers, insisting tap-ups hurt the club’s previous challenges.

Wenger and Co. have earned an unwanted reputation of notoriously faltering at pivotal stages of the season as they look to win their first Premier League crown since 2004.

Arsenal are in another promising position this term, five points adrift of leaders Leicester City, with a game in hand against Manchester United on Sunday.

And Wenger feels the Londoners are in a much better place to end their Premier League drought.

“We have lost once or twice the championship but you could say that about Manchester United as well, and any team,” Wenger said.

“We usually finish strongly in the second part of the season.”

Arsenal’s biggest collapse came in 2011, when they were second and four points behind United in February, only to fade away and finish 12 points adrift in fourth position.

“At that time we were losing momentum, this time it’s the opposite: we are chasing and gaining momentum,” the Frenchman said.

“We had two difficult games recently [a 0-0 draw with Hull City in the FA Cup and a 2-0 defeat by Barcelona in the Champions League] but overall the psychological situation is different.

“Also, we were very young at that time … and the mood of some players was more to get the next contract somewhere else than to win the championship because at the time we had to sell our players. When we went into April some of the players were tapped up to go somewhere else and it was difficult to maintain the focus. That’s not the case at the moment.

“All the players are focused and want to win and have great solidarity. It’s down to showing how good we are. The psychological situation is different today. Spirit-wise, I cannot criticise. In 2010, I would say we lost it because the spirit was not what it should be because of individual tap-ups.”

Wenger added: “We have lost once or twice the championship but you could say that about Manchester United as well, and any team.

“We usually finish strongly in the second part of the season.”

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