Arsenal News: Only Champions League Is Good Enough for Arsenal, Says Wenger

H Andel@Gol Iath @gol_iathAnalyst IIIJanuary 20, 2012

What will the future be, he wonders.
What will the future be, he wonders.Clive Rose/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger will fight tooth and nail to make sure Arsenal finish this season's campaign in the top four of the Premier League table.

This will guarantee the club a place among elite teams of European football in the coming season and will maintain a fourteen-year long tradition for the club under the Frenchman.

At a press conference Friday, ahead of the Arsenal-Manchester United match on Sunday, Wenger said.

“For me it would be [a disaster] because I want to play with the best. We want to be in there, in the top four, and to play in the Champions League. Anything else would not be good enough.”

His comment appears intended towards clarifying Peter Hill-Wood's statement earlier in the week that Arsenal's (possible) failure this season to qualify for the Champions League will not be a financial disaster for the club.

Although Hill-Wood's words were aimed at allaying financial fears, they were greeted with dismay by many Arsenal fans who felt that the club was lowering its standard yet again, from settling for top four finish this past seven years instead of challenging for silverware to being satisfied now for a middling finish on the Premier League table.

Here are Hill-Wood's words as reported by the Daily Star:

"From a financial point of view, not qualifying for the Champions League is quite a blow.

We have been planning for not qualifying every year, so it's not a disaster, but it would be nice if we could."

Hill-Wood looking down at lowered expectation
Hill-Wood looking down at lowered expectationRichard Heathcote/Getty Images

To make sure Arsenal play among the top four come May, Arsenal must avoid defeat this Sunday when they play their traditional title rival, Manchester United. Better still, they must control their own destiny by defeating United.

This, however, is easier said than done. When the two teams met in August, Arsenal suffered the humiliation of an 8-2 spanking. Then, they could hide behind the excuse of not having their best players available.

Now, although it looks like injury is still on hand to stop a number of their best players from featuring in the Sunday duel, a few will sympathize with this predicament in the event of a loss.

A loss will be a third straight defeat in the new year, and will be a heavy blow to Wenger's stated ambition. Last Sunday, Arsenal suffered a 3-2 defeat in the hand of Swansea City. This followed a 2-1 loss at Fulham the week before.

There is thus only one option available for this match as far as Arsenal are concerned: victory.

On Sunday, hard work, intelligent play, precision in front of goal and sturdiness in defense must combine with good fortune to grant the Gunners the three crucial points.

It's no less than Gooners of all stripes around the world deserve.

To fellow Gooners, as we wait in anticipation for Sunday's match, I urge you to keep the faith and hold the fort.