Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will qualify for Champions League

Manager says his side are well on course to finish in the top four of the Premier League with two games to go after victory over relegated QPR

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 11:40am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 May, 2013, 3:23am


Arsene Wenger believes the momentum is now with Arsenal in the battle to claim a place in next season's Champions League.

Wenger's side regained third place following a 1-0 victory at relegated Queens Park Rangers, two points clear of Chelsea ahead of Rafael Benitez's side's trip to face Manchester United overnight.

Unbeaten in eight games, Arsenal have two games remaining and Wenger says maximum points will ensure a top-four finish.

"We are on a very strong run," he said. "We are ready for a fight and the team is highly focused to do it.

"Definitely, the momentum is there. If you look at the points we have made compared to two months ago we are going for it and we make the points.

"Away from home we have won everywhere. We have also had lots of derbies and they are difficult to win.

"I cannot even tell you what results I wish for from the others [Tottenham and Chelsea]. A long time ago we focused on us getting the maximum points.

"We have done that nearly because we dropped two points against Everton and Manchester United but we want to win every game and we want to concentrate on doing that."

Theo Walcott struck the decsive goal after just 20 seconds, following up his strike against Manchester United last time out for his 20th goal of the season.

It was the fastest goal of the English Premier League season, and Wenger believes the winger's scoring return is a reflection of his growing maturity.

"He is 24 now, he is a mature player. He has improved his finishing, he is an improved player," Wenger said. "His ability to resist an opponent is better, it was a similar goal to the one against United."

But Wenger admitted his side had shown some nerves as they were made to work hard for the win by a Rangers side who face next season playing in the Championship.

He said: "You could see that this team have not played under special pressure and with fear in recent months. They had the quality to stay in the Premier League for me. And they made life difficult for us.

"Overall we played maybe as though the points were vital for us today."

QPR manager Harry Redknapp was impressed by his side's response after the disappointment of being relegated.

"Their heads could have dropped after that start, but they put in a shift and were fantastic. I was really pleased at the display," Redknapp said.

"It'll be a different team next year. People keep on about lack of spirit. It's been a lack of other stuff. We've not lacked spirit.

"We've lacked people to score goals and ability in certain areas. Not spirit. I've known for weeks who I'd like to keep."

Andros Townsend was the home side's best player but Redknapp ruled out any chance of keeping the on-loan Tottenham winger.

"He'll be in the Premier League again next year. He'll go back to Tottenham and either play there or somewhere else in the Premier League," he said.

"He was a great loan signing, a couple of thousand pound a week. He's back playing today despite a hamstring a couple of weeks ago. Fantastic."

Tottenham also stayed on course for qualification for next season's Champions League as Gareth Bale produced yet another moment of magic for a 1-0 result over Southampton, smashing home an 86th-minute winner in his first game since being named England's player of the year.

"It was a game-decider, a great moment of individual brilliance," Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said of Bale's 20th league goal of the season.

It wasn't enough to lift Tottenham above Arsenal, though, as they stayed in fifth place, level on 65 points with fourth-placed Chelsea and two behind Arsenal.