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Tuesday 29 April 2014

Wenger eyes stronger tilt at title next season

Arsenal manager in positive mood for future after 3-0 triumph over Newcastle United

MW36: Monday night photo gallery

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have shown enough potential to suggest a long-awaited Barclays Premier League title may be around the corner.

"We have shown we have potential, but we want more next season and hopefully we can do it"
Arsene Wenger

The Gunners took a giant step towards qualifying for next season's UEFA Champions League with a comfortable 3-0 win over Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on Monday.

Wenger's side took the lead in the 26th minute when Laurent Koscielny stabbed Santi Cazorla's free-kick home from close range, Mesut Ozil doubled the hosts' lead three minutes before half-time, converting the rebound after Olivier Giroud had two shots saved and Ozil then teed up Giroud for a header in the 66th minute to round off Arsenal's triumph.

Their 10th home win of the season lifted the north Londoners four points clear of Everton in fourth position with two matches remaining, meaning that a 17th consecutive season in Europe's elite club competition will be realised with a home win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

And although Arsenal's league trophy drought is now into its 10th year after a disappointing run of results took them out of title contention, Wenger says Arsenal are close to claiming the Barclays Premier League title since the 2003/04 campaign.

"We were on top of the league for 17 weeks," Wenger said. "At the crucial period of the season we lost many players and we went to the FA Cup final having played against Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham.

"In the Champions League we went out to Bayern Munich with 10 men, so we have shown we have potential, but we want more next season and hopefully we can do it."

Sixth defeat

While it was an enjoyable night for Arsenal, who recorded their third successive Barclays Premier League win, it was a forgettable evening for ninth-placed Newcastle, who slumped to their sixth consecutive loss.

"I thought they were very imaginative and caused us problems tonight"
Alan Pardew

"All I can do as a manager is to make sure that I do this job to the best of my ability," said Pardew. "You know, we've been top 10 all year; this recent run is not something I'm hiding from. We should have performed better in this run."

Newcastle have scored only one goal and conceded 17 in their losing sequence, while they have won just twice since the start of March.

"Coming to Arsenal, especially with Ozil and [Aaron] Ramsay back to full fitness, is a difficult place to come, and I thought they were very imaginative and caused us problems tonight," Newcastle's manager said. "But we defended really well in that first period and had a good foothold in the game until the first goal and probably that period before half-time was costly for us."

The loss leaves Newcastle only three points clear of Crystal Palace, who are 11th in the table, with two matches left and Pardew hopes Magpies fans back his team on Saturday against Cardiff City as they continue to battle for a top-10 finish.

"It's very, very important that our stadium gives us the same opportunity that they did against Swansea when it was, actually, a good atmosphere for us to play under," he said.

"We've got the best fans in the world and I really hope that on Saturday we give them something that they deserve because they don't deserve the recent run that we've offered up to them."

To watch both managers' press conferences visit the matchday page, by clicking here >>.

Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle  | #ARSNEW  |  More on the Carlsberg Live Match Centre >>

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