Wenger targets strong finish
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has challenged his side to build on their FA Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out triumph by winning all of their remaining five Barclays Premier League matches to secure a top-four finish.
The Gunners will host West Ham on Tuesday night looking to move themselves back above Everton following what was a nerve-shredding encounter with Wigan at Wembley, where they were just seven minutes from what would have been a catastrophic defeat for Wenger's beleaguered squad.
Wenger, though, insists all thoughts of the return trip to the national stadium on May 17 must now be put aside to secure another shot at elite European football again next season.
"When you are in a semi-final and you win, it releases a little bit of pressure on the team on that front, but we want to bounce back in the Premier League," said Wenger, who has several players carrying minor fitness problems ahead of Tuesday night.
"Therefore we want to finish strong, we have a battle with Everton and of course it's now down to consistency in our final games.
"It (five victories) is the target. Do you need it? Nobody knows, but the target is of course to win every game."
Wenger added: "We just want to not imagine the consequences of not doing it, what you want is just to focus on doing it.
"That is where we have the focus, the quality of the spirit, we have the desire and we are slowly getting our players back, so the squad is not (so) depleted any more.
"I believe that they (Everton) have difficult games and we have difficult games, but we want to focus now on what we know we can do.
"We have a more complete squad and we want to win our games, no matter what Everton do. We want to finish in a strong way.
"We can finish the season well - we can finish in the top four, we can win the FA Cup - so it's down to how united we will be until the end of the season, and focused together."
Wenger accepts Arsenal will have to stop the supply line to England World Cup hopeful Andy Carroll on Tuesday.
"Once the ball is up there, you do not find many people who can compete with him and win the challenge, so what is important is that we stop the balls going to him," said Wenger.
"Of that quality, in the air, there are not many (better), I don't think so."
Wenger added: "West Ham are in a comfortable position, that means they can play without fear. So we know that in these kind of games it's very important that we have a good focus and a good tempo in our game."
Sam Allardyce has warned West Ham they are not yet safe from relegation.
Six wins from their last 10 games has seen the Hammers climb away from trouble and they are currently seven points above the drop zone.
But weekend wins for the likes of Fulham, Cardiff and Crystal Palace have got the Upton Park boss looking over his shoulder again.
"The results some of the teams below us pulled off, some surprisingly, means we are not mathematically safe," he said.
"If they then get back-to-back wins you have to look down and say we're not quite there. We've got five very tough games to go, we've got to try to pick up as many points as we can."
Wenger admits many of his players are suffering with knocks and fatigue following their Wembley exertions, and Allardyce will be looking to take advantage at the Emirates Stadium.
"We all suffer with spells of injuries and when players can't recover in time and we all know that weakens our team, we had a similar spell in December and it makes your life very difficult as a manager," he said.
"Certainly with Arsenal's game-load and some of those injuries, yes they will be weaker than they possibly could be.
"But they've kept a Champions League place for all these years with a squad of 25 players and nearly all are internationals, and they are playing at the Emirates, so whatever difficulties they have it's still a hugely tough fixture for us.
"Whatever team Arsenal put out we will have to play at our very best if we are to get a result, particularly on their own patch."