Arsenal will challenge for the Premier League title next season, according to outgoing manager Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners find themselves 37 points behind league leaders Manchester City, following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Leicester on Wednesday, continuing a trend of poor away performances that see them ranked 16th in the league in terms of their away form. They have also conceded more goals this season than ever before in the Premier League era.
Wenger, who will leave the club at the end of the season, believes that his successor will be able to make a few minor tweaks to get more out of the Emirates side on their travels.
“I’m convinced Arsenal will be one of the contenders next year,” he told the Evening Standard. “The quality is there, the spirit is exceptional.
“If the team has one or two good away results next season they will play for the Premiership, I’m convinced, because there is something special in that team that will come out next season.
“If you look at our season, at home we have championship winning form and away we have a consequence of many things.”
Indeed, Wenger thinks that a mix of circumstances have contributed to his side failing on their travels.
“We have a lack of confidence because of a few bad results and after that we neglected a little bit some games because we were in the Europa League,” he said.
Arsenal’s loss on Wednesday was their seventh straight defeat on the road, a statistic that the club had not known since 1966.
The Gunners conclude their season on Sunday, attempting to break that miserable run when they travel to Huddersfield.
It will be a memorable game for Wenger, as it will be the last in a reign that has spanned over 22 years at the north London club.
He has overseen three Premier League title victories, including during the 2003-04 season, when ‘the Invincibles’ completed the campaign without a single defeat. He also led the Gunners to the 2005 Champions League final, in which they were defeated 2-1 by Barcelona.
Arsenal are hopeful that they will be able to name the veteran Frenchman’s replacement before the beginning of the World Cup in the middle of June, with Massimiliano Allegri and Luis Enrique among the frontrunners for the post.