Wenger: If you are not first you might as well be 12th

Smiles for Wenger after a disappointing season
Smiles for Wenger after a disappointing season

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes finishing second in the Barclays Premier League is bittersweet as they finish the season 10 points behind champions Leicester.

The Gunners' 4-0 win over bottom side Aston Villa and Tottenham's 5-1 defeat to relegated Newcastle on the last day of the season was enough to see them snatch second place in the table at the expense of their great rivals.

“We are second in the League and we want to be first, but if you’re not first, you might as well be 10th or 12th," said Wenger.

“You might as well say first is good and the rest is rubbish. In sport, when you work in a football club you know that every win you have to fight and prepare more.

Wenger insisted the identity of surprise champions Leicester did not make his disappointment at failing to win the title any more acute.

"You have to say Leicester have had an exceptional year. It is not only us who is behind Leicester," he stated. We have beaten them twice.

"We are not happy about being second, but then there are 18 other teams behind us.

"Our aim was to be first and for a while we believed we could do it.

"We kept togetherness and we have now not lost for nine games and that mental strength we have in the dressing room got us through that period.

"We are second and we want to be first.

"We don't start the season and think we want to finish above Tottenham but today we played with the only target we had. Today the aim before the game was to finish second.

"We achieved it, for a while our supporters were not going home very happy and today at least they had some satisfaction."

A hat-trick from Olivier Giroud and an own goal from Villa goalkeeper Mark Bunn meant Mikel Arteta, who has been at the club since 2011, and Tomas Rosicky, who has been at the Emirates for 10 years, had the perfect send-off.

Midfielder Arteta, 34, was in tears as he left the pitch to a standing ovation after the final whistle with both players leaving the club in the summer.