Wenger gives little away as Arsenal faces top-4 exclusion
Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger folds his arms when the score was 0-0 during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium in London, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
JUSTIN PALMER, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — If Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is troubled about his future, he's not showing it.
Approaching Sunday's Premier League season finale against Everton, which could determine whether Arsenal will play in the Champions League next season, Wenger again gave little away.
Wenger's contract is up at the end of the season, so this weekend's match could be his last at Emirates Stadium.
"This season, yes," Wenger said, adding that his future will be discussed at a board meeting after Arsenal plays Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 27.
Arsenal is in real danger of missing out on a top-four finish for the first time in 20 seasons under the Frenchman. In a three-way race for the final two Champions League qualification spots, Arsenal is the outsider. Manchester City has 75 points, Liverpool has 73, and Arsenal has 72.
City, which has the best goal difference, plays at Watford and Liverpool hosts already-relegated Middlesbrough.
Arsenal has been playing well lately, winning four straight league games, but its rebound may have come too late.
"It doesn't matter about chances. We are professional and we have to do our job," Wenger said. "We do not need to look at any other game. That's all we can do, win our game."
Much speculation has also surrounded the future of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, but Wenger claimed they would both stay, even if Arsenal misses out on the Champions League.
"First of all, they are under contract. And they behave like they want to be at the club," Wenger said. "I don't question their focus and their determination because in every game they turn up with strong performances."
Like Wenger, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was also in a philosophical mood on Friday.
"If we have enough points, we deserve Champions League. If we don't, we don't," the German said. "The best thing would be 4-0 after two minutes but that is not possible."
England striker Harry Kane's four goals in Tottenham's 6-1 win over Leicester put him two ahead of Everton forward Romelu Lukaku in the race to finish top of the Premier League scoring chart.
Kane, last year's Golden Boot winner, has 26 league goals while Lukaku has 24 and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez has 23.
Despite missing three months of the season because of injury, Kane is the first Tottenham player to score four hat tricks in a season since Jimmy Greaves in 1968-69.
Tottenham, guaranteed to finish in second place behind champion Chelsea, ends its season at relegated Hull.
Manchester United's final lineup of the Premier League season is set to contain the world's most expensive player, the England captain and a bunch of youth team players.
Speaking ahead of the home game against Crystal Palace on Sunday, United manager Jose Mourinho said he will be protecting his top players to keep them fresh for the Europa League final against Ajax on Wednesday.
Mourinho said 16-year-old midfielder Angel Gomes, as well as youngsters Joel Pereira, Kieran O'Hara, Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay, Josh Harrop, Matthew Willock and Zachary Dearnley, will play at Old Trafford.
However, Paul Pogba — signed for a world record $116 million in August — will definitely be one of the few high-profile players to start. Mourinho said he wanted to give Pogba some game time because the midfielder missed United's last two matches following the death of his father and needs "minutes on the pitch."
Wayne Rooney could also play because he is unlikely to start against Ajax.
Sunday's game at Arsenal could be Lukaku's last match for Everton.
The Belgium forward has refused to commit to a new long-term contract and has made clear his desire to play in the Champions League, something Everton cannot offer.
Chelsea can, however, and if Diego Costa leaves Stamford Bridge, the Blues could be interested in bringing Lukaku back to west London.
Despite going the last four games without a goal, the Belgian has enjoyed the best season of his career.
Watford said this week that manager Walter Mazzari would step down after the final game of the season against Manchester City.
Hull manager Marco Silva is the favorite to replace him, while former Russia coach Leonid Slutsky and former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri have also been mentioned as possible candidates.