Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his side are involved in the most exciting Premier League title race in memory, with four teams still in contention for the top prize heading into the final two months of the campaign.
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Wenger’s Arsenal fought back into title contention with a 1-0 win against Tottenham last Sunday, as they took advantage of Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at Villa to make up ground on the league leaders.
The Gunners travel to Stamford Bridge for what could be a pivotal fixture in both club’s title challenge and they also have a clash against Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on the horizon before the end of March, with Wenger suggesting his side will be primed to win the title if they emerge from those games successfully.
“There is a feeling that if we get through these games, it will strengthen the belief and determination of the team,” Wenger told Arsenal Player. “That will be massive. If we get through well these next games, it will be a big part in it [Arsenal’s title hopes].
“It is the best title race I can remember. In terms of the number of teams still involved with nine games to go, eight for some, this is certainly the highest number I have seen competing for the Premier League. This league is so competitive that anyone can drop points anywhere.
“It’s a fact that every game is so demanding that as soon as you have a little bit less mental energy, you are in danger. I always said since my interviews in January that the most consistent team will win it in the end.”
Wenger will take charge of Arsenal for the 1,000th time at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, yet his focus is not on the adulation likely to come his way as he reaches the historic milestone.
Instead, he is determined to keep attention trained on a Chelsea team that he suspects will be a little more ambitious than they were in the goalless draw at Emirates Stadium back in December.
“In the Premier League game that finished 0-0, Chelsea were set up to stop us playing,” he added, of a game that produced few chances as the Blues succeeded in cancelling out Wenger’s side.
“We didn’t manage to create enough to win the game and that is what we need to do on Saturday. To be creative, to create chances and to stop them from playing as well because they have creative players up front who can open you up when you go forward. We need to find that balance between attacking well and defending well.
“The [Chelsea] team is different compared to Mourinho’s first time there. Then they had a very experienced team, with top quality. Now they have a younger team, but with top quality as well.”