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Wenger: Every game is kill or be killed

ESPN staff
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Arsene Wenger is ready to sign a new deal at the club © Getty Images
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Arsene Wenger has likened football management to "Russian roulette" as the Arsenal boss offered an insight into the pressure of life on the touchline.

Arsenal face Newcastle United on Monday night at Emirates Stadium and require two victories from their remaining three games to secure a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.

"It's easier to be calm in September than in March," Wenger said. "Every game is kill or be killed. This period of the season, you feel much more under pressure as a manager.

"In September, you think, 'Okay, we lost this game but we still have time to catch up'. Now, it's one, two, three games to go and you look at the table, at the bottom and the top, and everybody plays a bit [of] Russian roulette."

Wenger - who will lead his side out for the FA Cup final against Hull City on May 17 - has been heavily criticised by the fans for the club's nine-year run without a trophy and fading in their title challenge this season despite topping the Premier League in December.

The Frenchman's contract is due to expire in the summer, but he is ready to sign a new deal and there has been at least one feelgood factor in the shape of the FA Cup at the end of Arsenal's season.

"Winning the cup semi-final [against Wigan] has been a relief because we knew it was a tricky game," he said after his team scraped through on penalties and went on to record successive league wins against West Ham and Hull.

"We came out of a bad period and we had to play the semi-final. Did we have a bad period because we had to play the semi-final? I don't think so. I just think, coming out of a bad period, we knew that losing the semi-final would have been terrible for us. That's why there was more at stake."

Everton's defeat to Southampton last weekend means Arsenal can open up a four-point gap to Roberto Martinez's side in the fight for fourth spot if they beat Newcastle.

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