Obsessed Wenger hoping to cut gap as Gunners told to forget Barca tie

Arsene Wenger has urged his Arsenal team to pounce on Manchester United’s slip-up in the Barclays Premier League title race.

Wenger insists his “obsession” is beating Sunderland at Emirates Stadium today after United’s midweek loss at Chelsea left the Gunners trailing by four points with a game in hand.

Victory against the Black Cats would pile pressure on Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, who travel to Liverpool tomorrow.

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Wenger wants his players to put Tuesday night’s eagerly awaited Champions League showdown with Barcelona out of their minds and concentrate on domestic issues. “The championship is very important. Personally, I cannot believe we play Barcelona next week because my obsession is really Sunderland,” he said.

“The obsession is more than the Champions League because for me it’s highly important that we take advantage of our situation in the Premier League.

“We battled everywhere since the start of the season against many specialist opinions that we have no chance at all.

“Now that we are in this situation, it would be very dramatic if we would not consider the importance of the game (tomorrow).”

Arsenal have experienced a tumultuous period over the last three weeks, with their stunning first-leg upset of Barcelona offset by defeat to Birmingham in the Carling Cup final.

The loss at Wembley saw doubts over the team’s temperament resurface, but Wenger insists their subsequent 5-0 thrashing of Leyton Orient in the FA Cup proves their character.

“I have learned a lot because every game teaches you things about your team,” he said.

Midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song will miss tomorrow’s visit of Sunderland and face a race to be fit for Barcelona.

Aaron Ramsey could make his first Arsenal appearance since breaking his leg last year.