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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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Wenger: Top four as good as silverware

Arsene Wenger believes a top-four finish would be like winning a trophy this season after Arsenal's mid-season revival suffered two serious setbacks this week.

• Arsenal set to spend big
• Gunners crash out of FA Cup
• Ibrahimovic: RVP should leave

Wenger's men were thrashed 4-0 in Milan midweek, before Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round defeat at Sunderland left the club eyeing a seventh season without a trophy. Arsenal, currently sitting in fourth place on the Premier League table, must now concentrate on maintaining their position to qualify for next season's Champions League.

"People are always asking the same question but the first trophy is to finish in the top four and that's still possible for us," Wenger said. "I believe that is vital for us, so let's focus on that."

Recent reports suggest the Gunners will change their cost-cutting recruitment policy next season, but when prompted on the subject, Wenger hinted that a major overhaul is not yet on the club's list of priorities.

"When everybody is available we have what it takes at the club and we will add what it takes," Wenger said. "But at the moment we're not making plans for next season, we're making plans for the next game.

"We have many missing: big, big players, too. We're in February and [Jack] Wilshere has played zero games, [Abou] Diaby has played zero games, [Per] Mertesacker is out for the season and [Andre] Santos for three months. That would be difficult for any club in the world to deal with. But let's win our next game and we'll be fine."

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