Szczesny: Besting Spurs is main target
Wojciech Szczesny is determined to help Arsenal finish above Tottenham this season, claiming it his "main target" for the campaign.
The Gunners' 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday left them 12 points behind the Premier League leaders and five points behind Spurs, with Arsene Wenger conceding that winning the title is now beyond his side.
But Szczesny is confident that surpassing Tottenham remains a realistic goal, and believes it is imperative that he and his team-mates prevent Harry Redknapp's charges from bettering Arsenal's final Premier League position for the first time since 1994-95, when they finished seventh to the Gunners' 12th.
"Getting above Tottenham is the main target,'' Szczesny told the London Evening Standard. "We don't want to finish below them no matter what. That's just my personal ambition because I am one of the fans and so it means a lot to me to finish above them. I am confident we will do so.
"They will slip up eventually. They have been in good form - you have to give it to them - but I am confident we are a better side and will finish above them. Time will tell if they can handle the pressure but they look good at the moment. Hopefully they will drop points in the second half of the season.''
Szczesny, who has played every Premier League game so far this season, also insisted Arsenal were far from overwhelmed by their hosts on Sunday.
"I don't think there is a big gap between the teams in terms of quality,'' Szczesny said. "They just got the winning goal and that was the difference. But we showed that we are just as good as the richest team and possibly, at the moment, the best team in the league, so that gives us confidence we can beat everyone else.
"They will drop points. They lost against Chelsea, who are a good side, and they seemed to have got their confidence back. We are confident, playing well while they are on top of the league but United are catching up. Everyone can win it still.
"It is too big a gap but we hope we can make it smaller and then we can talk about challenging for the title. We are confident going into the Christmas period that we can get the results.''
To make matters worse for Arsenal, Wenger now only has four fit recognised defenders to choose from for Wednesday's game against Aston Villa. Johan Djourou joined Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna, Carl Jenkinson and Andre Santos on the Gunners' injury list after coming off with a groin injury that will rule him out for three weeks.