Belfast Telegraph

Wenger staying grounded

Arsene Wenger is not about to make any bold predictions over what the future holds for Arsenal, despite the Gunners romping to a seventh straight Barclays Premier League win.

The 3-0 victory over Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium tightened the Gunners' grip on third place, with Tottenham and Chelsea having played out a goalless draw. It represents an impressive turnaround for Wenger's squad, who earlier in the campaign lurched from one crisis to another.

The Gunners boss, however, is taking things firmly one match at a time, and said: "We have come through a very difficult period. We have learnt from that and must keep our feet on the ground and focus on the next game [at QPR]."

He added: "Let's first see how we finish and then we analysis it all after the end of the season; just see if we have the quality to maintain this consistency until the end of the season and then we can say: 'Okay, look'.

"That is not done yet, there are eight games to go and things can change."

Things have certainly changed from last season's capitulation following a similar blow of disappointments following defeat in the Carling Cup final.

"We are more experienced," Wenger said. "Last season we went out of the League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League in 10 days - that is like three knockouts in 10 days and subconsciously we couldn't win any more."

Wenger accepts third place and with it automatic qualification for the Champions League group stages would "make a massive difference" to Arsenal's pre-season, which could be disrupted by both Euro 2012 and the London Olympics.

Arsenal are looking to bolster the squad in the summer and are closing in on the signing of Germany striker Lukas Podolski.

Wenger said: "We want Podolski here.... and if we can find world-class players, we will."


From Belfast Telegraph