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Tuesday slip leaves Wenger wary of Everton’s challenge

Mar 25, 2014, 9:33 PM EDT

arsene_wenger AP

After Tuesday’s results, Arsenal is as close to fifth as it is to first. After a stoppage time own goal gave struggling Swansea City a point at the Emirates, the Gunners saw their game on Everton reduced to six points. With the Toffees still holding a game in hand, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is ready to shift focus from a title charge to protecting the team’s Champions League spot.

“The title is not our biggest worry at the moment,” Wenger said, via reporting by The Guardian. “We just have to try to be realistic and we have to come back in the next game. We have to look behind us … Everton won [at Newcastle United] so we have, of course, to focus.”

(MORE: Arsenal 2-2 Swansea City: Stoppage time own goal from Flamini sees Gunners drop points at home)

For a team that could have moved within one of first on Saturday, moving on from the title race is a sudden and bitter turn. But with the worst goal difference among the league’s top four, Arsenal have the standings, form, and tiebreakers working against it. Champions League must be the priority, especially with Arsenal set to visit Goodson on Apr. 6.

“It will be open until the end,” Wenger said of the races at the top of the table. “We can still have surprises.”

At this point, it would be a surprise to see the Gunners resume their title challenge, part of the reason why Wenger sees a two-team race at the top.

“Manchester City had a good result [at United] … they look a bit unstoppable and they are the favorites because they still have two games in hand,” according to Wenger.

“Them and Chelsea are the favorites for the title. We don’t have too much room to come back into it.”

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