Wenger ignores Man City hype

Salisbury Journal: Arsene Wenger is adamant Arsenal can last the pace Arsene Wenger is adamant Arsenal can last the pace

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants his team to focus on their own strengths and not get carried away in the hype surrounding Manchester City as their Barclays Premier League title rivals look to chalk up 100 goals.

Following the 5-0 demolition of Blackburn in their FA Cup third-round replay, City stand on the brink of a century in all competitions when they host relegation-battlers Cardiff on Saturday.

Despite all of the plaudits coming the way of Manuel Pellegrini's free-scoring side, it is Arsenal who remain a point clear at the top of the table ahead of Saturday's match with Fulham after they won at Aston Villa on Monday night to move back above City and Chelsea.

Wenger accepts while Arsenal may always be playing catch-up on City in terms of financial muscle, they can prove their own worth with consistency on the pitch with what would be a fifth straight league win against the struggling Cottagers.

"In terms of their resources, no (we cannot compete) because they have unlimited resources. But with our resources available, we are ready to fight," said Wenger, who indicated he may have now made a decision on whether to extend his contract.

"I think what is very interesting is what we want to do and how we want to play. Can we beat these teams?

"It is even greater because they are top quality, which I acknowledge, but we want to beat them and therefore with our style, we need to get our resources out there in every game to have a chance to do it."

Wenger added: "I always expect the best from our team. If you look at the last 12 months you will see that our form has been consistent, so let's go from strength to strength and develop our game."

Wenger remains confident Arsenal can prove the bookmakers wrong and last the distance in the title race.

"Let people make Man City or Chelsea the favourites, we can accept that," he said.

"The reality is that tomorrow afternoon at 3pm, that is where you can perform and where we have an opportunity to convince people that we are serious about what we want to achieve."

Wenger added: "We know that one of the targets in the second part of the season is for us to be strong at home and recently we have done that, so we want to continue that.

"Tomorrow of course is a very important game, it is a derby, and because now we go into a part of the season where every game becomes massive."

Wenger's current deal expires in the summer and talks have been going on for some time to tie up the long-term future of the French coach.

The 64-year-old was again pressed on the contract negotiations, and whether there was any time-frame at which a decision had to be reached one way or another.

"There is always a point where you have to decide, of course," Wenger said.

"There is a point where you have to decide and there is a point where you have to make your decision public."

When asked if that meant he had already made his decision, Wenger replied: "You can take that sentence the way you want it."

Arsenal are expected to bring in some attacking reinforcements this month to try to help offset the loss of England forward Theo Walcott to a serious knee injury.

Schalke's German international Julian Draxler, who is said to have a £37million buy-out clause, has been touted as a potential target - with some reports suggesting the player had been spotted on a tour of Arsenal's Hertfordshire training complex.

Wenger, though, insisted nothing was imminent.

"That (rumour) is like an unidentified flying object - some see them everywhere," the Arsenal manager quipped.

"Are we close to signing anybody? At the moment I would say no."

Instead, Wenger would rather do away with the whole mid-season transfer window.

"Either you scrap it completely, or you leave it open until as long as possible to the last four games," he said.

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