LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger urged disaffected fans to return to north London and support their club’s bid for another season of Champions League after empty seats belied the official gloss on attendance fogures for the 2-0 win over West Bromwich.

Alexis Sanchez score both goals as the Gunners moved up to third in the Premier League in pursuit of a 20th consecutive season among the European elite.

Reports leading into the game suggesting as many as 2,500 season-ticket holders had returned their tickets due to disillusion over another season where a title bid faded away.

There were also banners unveiled at full-time calling for an end to Wenger’s near-20 year reign, but the Frenchman said afterwards he wants the stay-away supporters to come back and get behind the side.

Asked for a message to the fans who opted against attending, Wenger replied: “To come and support the team. If you love football, you go out there and I think you see quality football.

“That’s what we try to give to our people. It was a special night as well, Thursday night, and I don’t know if you are intelligent enough, nor am I, to detect exactly why everybody that did not turn up tonight did not turn up.

“I believe we dominated from the start to the last minute and in fact, was what we did against Crystal Palace. Overall I believe the quality of our game was very good. Maybe, we could have scored more goals.

“That is the only thing you could say tonight. We didn’t concede and couldn’t finish the game off the way we wanted.”

While many are declaring it is now a two-horse race for the title between Leicester and Tottenham, for the moment Arsenal remain in the hunt and Wenger insists his side are looking up rather than casting a wary eye over their shoulder at other clubs hoping to finish in the top four.

“We want to finish as high as possible. You never know what happens in front of you,” he added.

“There can still be twists and turns but we want to win our games. We came out of West Ham and Crystal Palace thinking we had produced the quality and didn’t get the points.

“If you look at our last five games, we won at Everton, we won against Watford, we had two draws and we won today.

“The regret we have is being in the lead against West Ham and being in the lead against Crystal Palace and not getting the points. I don’t know where we’ll finish but we have to give everything in every game.

“We go to Sunderland (on Sunday), Sunderland fight not to go down. That will be a battle and we have to prepare for that.”