Arsene Wenger: Winning the league is “not realistic”

Arsenal are looking to return to winning ways in the league when they face Southampton away from home, but are a massive 15 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City, a margin Wenger believes will be too difficult to overcome.

Arsene Wenger: Winning the league is “not realistic”
Arsene Wenger in his press conference ahead of the Southampton game

Arsenal should not get carried away by title aspirations according to manager Arsene Wenger ahead of the Gunners’ tie with Southampton tomorrow at St Mary’s Stadium.

The Gunners are enjoying a spell of good form, despite losing 3-1 to Manchester United last week and dominating the large majority of the game, and come into the game on the back of a 6-0 Europa League win against BATE Borisov.

However Wenger believes talking about the title at this stage is unreasonable: “We are too far from the title at the moment to speak about the title. It’s not realistic.

“Let’s try to win our next game and over a longer distance see if we can come back.”

Pellegrino believes Arsenal can still win it

Those comments came before Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino claiming that, if Arsenal have a strong second-half to the campaign, the Gunners can catch Manchester City.

"The last third of the season is the most important part.

“Arsenal have to have this race at the end with good performances. They are a really strong side,” the Argentine added.

Lack of recovery for the game

Arsenal come into the match against the Saints just 62 hours after their Europa League victory and Wenger is frustrated at the quick turnaround.

“I have nothing against the fact that we have to do that, as long as our opponents have the same recovery days.

“That was not the case last week and will not be the case again. Between three days and five days is a big gap on the recovery side.

“If we have to play every day I don’t mind as long as our opponents do as well.”

On whether he felt his team had a disadvantage, the Frenchman replied: “What I would like is that the teams who have tight schedules are faced with the same problems.

“I don’t mind, I can understand what we have to play all the games, you just want to play teams with the same problems as you.”

Jack Wilshere's increasing influence

However the manager was full of praise for midfielder Jack Wilshere after his return to the first-team in recent times: “Now I would not even say he is coming back - he is back.”

The 25-year-old scored his first goal of the season against BATE Borisov in midweek and put in a masterclass performance.

“I would say this is the most mature Wilshere I have seen, in the game and outside the game. He is not excessive, he has taken a distance from the pressure that was always around him,” Wenger added.

German Shkodran Mustafi has been ruled out as a definite absentee for the Southampton game by Wenger and is expected to be replaced by club captain Per Mertesacker in the three man defence.