Jack Wilshere has admitted that Arsenal thought this was their year to win the Premier League title, especially after beating Leicester City 2-1 at the Emirates back on Valentine’s Day.
At the turn of the year, Arsenal were considered the favourites to pick up their first title in 12 years, but prior to the clash with Leicester they endured a rocky patch, going four games without a win. They ended that run with a 2-0 victory at Bournemouth, setting Arsene Wenger’s side up well for the crunch game at the Emirates.
The Gunners beat Claudio Ranieri’s men in dramatic fashion that afternoon, with Danny Welbeck scoring an injury-time winner to seemingly put them in the driving seat, but it all went wrong from there. Arsenal have won just three of their 11 Premier League games since that victory over the Foxes, ultimately ending their hopes of title glory.
Leicester were crowned champions last week, lifting the trophy at the weekend, while bitter north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur have also pushed on this term, sitting above the Gunners in this final week of the season, but Wilshere has revealed just how confident the Arsenal camp was following the victory on Valentine’s Day.
“I think [we are moving in the right direction],” the 24-year-old told the club’s official website. “We put up a big challenge this year, and OK it didn’t work out, but after we beat Leicester at home we thought this was our year and we have to push on. Unfortunately we didn’t, but we put up more of a fight than previous years.
“A big thing we worked on this season was when we lose the ball, we straight away have to defend and win the ball higher up. I think we have done that well and we improved a lot on that.”
On a personal level though, Wilshere must be quietly happy at the moment after finally making his comeback from injury in the last few weeks, with his first appearance of the campaign coming at Sunderland last month. In his two Premier League appearances, the midfielder has won 60% of his average duels and with an average pass accuracy of 88%.
As for Arsenal, following their 2-2 draw at Manchester City at the weekend they sit third on 68 points, two behind Spurs with just one game remaining.
Wenger’s men end the season with a home clash against already relegated Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon, looking to leapfrog their rivals for a second place finish, with Spurs taking on Newcastle United at St James’ Park in their final game.
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