Wenger: We’re ready to battle with Newcastle

Julian Harris
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ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger believes his team could be in for a tough time at the Emirates Stadium tonight, despite facing a Newcastle side that have lost five Premier League games on the trot.

Everton’s slip-up on the weekend, when the Toffees went down 2-0 at Southampton, means an Arsenal victory will extend the gap to the Champions League qualification places to four points. Yet Wenger is taking nothing for granted.

“You know that Newcastle have quality, so of course we have to prepare like we will face a Premier League battle,” Wenger said.

“The exciting thing in the Premier League is that everybody fights for every game and we have to prepare for that.”

Four defeats and three draws since the start of February derailed Arsenal’s title bid, while Everton put on a seven-match winning run to threaten the Gunners’ chances of finishing in the top four.

However, since losing at Goodison Park at the start of April, Arsenal have won their subsequent three games, including a penalty shoot-out victory over Wigan that secured a place in next month’s FA Cup final at Wembley.

Wenger added: “We have come back [with] a better display in our offensive quality which brings confidence, so that is what we want to build on now.”

Meanwhile the Gunners boss has said that he will not hurry midfielder Jack Wilshere back from injury, as the England international works on being fit in time for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

“I don’t want to rush his fitness. If he wants to come back he needs to be fully fit, for that I believe it is very important that we don’t rush him,” Wenger said.

“We want to do the basic work on his stamina so he can support the demands of the Premier League and the World Cup.”