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Arsenal will influence title race, says Wenger

sports Updated: Apr 11, 2009 18:00 IST

IANS
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Arsenal might not be in football's English Premier League title race but manager Arsene Wenger feels that his club will give tough fight to the team that wins this year's title.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool all have to play the north London club before the end of the season.

Sir Alex Ferguson's champions, aiming to claim the Premier League for a third consecutive year, host Arsenal, who are currently fourth in the Premier League on May 16 in the clubs' penultimate match of the campaign.

By then the Gunners will also have played Chelsea at the Emirates a week earlier and visited Anfield on April 21.

"Yes of course we will have a massive influence," Wenger said in English media. "But at the moment the first target is to get away from Aston Villa [in fifth] and then get close to Chelsea and Liverpool because you never know.

"The best schedule is Chelsea's," he said of Guus Hiddink's team, who have four games to play at home. "But I think Manchester United is in the strongest position because the game in hand [against Portsmouth] is not away.

The Frenchman's side visit Wigan on Saturday to start what he says will be a pivotal week for the club. Villarreal are at the Emirates on Wednesday evening hoping to overturn the 1-1 draw from the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final, before Arsenal face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday.