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Wenger focused on Newcastle

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17 May 2013 12:47:24

Wenger focused on Newcastle

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would "fancy" a play-off for Champions League qualification with Chelsea - but challenged his team to just concentrate on securing the "compulsory" victory at Newcastle this weekend.

The Gunners head to St James' Park one-point clear of Tottenham following their 4-1 win over Wigan. Europa League champions Chelsea are two points ahead, but the statistics are so close that should Arsenal win by a two-goal margin and the Blues slip up at home to Everton, then Wenger's men would leapfrog up into third place and with it automatic entry into next season's group stages.

However, should the Gunners win 2-1 at Newcastle and Chelsea draw 0-0, then the two London clubs would be locked together and, under Barclays Premier League regulations, sent into an extraordinary play-off. And Wenger said: "A play-off exists only if we win the game (at Newcastle), so let's win the game and see what happens."

Wenger accepts if his men fail to win at St James' Park, then that scenario would be redundant.

"I would fancy that," said the Arsenal manager, who revealed negotiations over signing Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre were at an "advanced" stage.

"The biggest task is to win the game and not speculate too much on what happens after because the first compulsory thing we face is to win the game on Sunday."

A superb unbeaten nine-game league run has propelled Wenger's men back up into the top four, when earlier in the campaign it looked as if they would struggle to be in contention.

Arsenal edged out Tottenham on the final day 12 months ago to snatch third, and history could be set to repeat itself again this weekend.

"I know for a long time that for us, when we were seven points behind, we would all be happy that it goes to the last day," said Wenger. "We are in a position where nobody expected us to be. We have our destiny in our hands, our fate in our hands and that's what you fight for in the game.

"It is a game that we will now want to win but at least we fought back to be in a position where we master our own fate."


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