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Usher: Reds defence key at Basel

Liverpool about an hour ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 5, 2010

Wenger confident Gunners can go the distance

Arsene Wenger maintains his young Arsenal side have both the required hunger and mental strength to continue their march towards the top of the Premier League table.

The Gunners could move to within a point of leaders Chelsea by beating relegation-battlers Bolton at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

It is a remarkable turnaround in fortunes since being outmuscled 3-0 at home by Chelsea at the end of November.

In that period, Arsenal have recorded five wins from six Premier League games, while both Chelsea and second-placed Manchester United have struggled for consistency.

Wenger, though, never lost faith in his young Gunners to deliver.

"We have a good opportunity to come back very close to Chelsea, and we want to take it, to make it more interesting for everybody,'' he said. "One month ago we were far from the top teams, and since have created momentum.

"We refused to give up and continued to fight and believe in our strengths. The biggest test in our camp was the mental strengths of the players and the solidarity of the players. That has been tested.

"What we have realised in one month gives us a good springboard to go even further. Why should we stop here? The next two months will determine how ambitious and how hungry we are.

"It does not mean Chelsea or Manchester United do not have hunger - but what I know is that within our team we have a great hunger for success. We have great solidarity and team spirit.

"We are a team who has grown up together and wants to achieve things. We have not won anything yet together and that makes us hungry for success.

"There are many ways to be successful,'' said the Arsenal manager, whose last trophy was the FA Cup in 2005. I want to show that our way can be successful as well. In the modern game, there is a lack of patience and one response when you lose a game - people say to you 'buy, buy, buy'.

"I believe sometimes when you have players who are 21, 22, that they can only become better. When they are 33, they can only be worse at 34 and that is why we are in a position where we need to have the needed strengths to be patient because we have the quality.

"Hopefully we can show until the end of the season that we can be successful.''

Denilson is fit again following a back problem, and Wenger has no doubts the young Brazilian is up to the challenge.

"Denilson is an all-rounder, but he can play in this position and will come in for Song,'' said the Arsenal boss. "He is very strong in reading the game and winning the ball back.

"Denilson has 150 games in the Premier League. People do not notice how important he is for us and he can play in every single position in midfield.''

Wenger is on the market for some fresh talent to strengthen the squad, particularly with Holland international Robin van Persie a long-term absentee after suffering a knee injury.

However, the Arsenal manager maintains as yet, there are no fresh developments.

"Ideally because of the number of games you have in January, you want to act as quickly as possible, but at the moment it is very quiet,'' he said. "You hear here and there a player is going, but there is always more talk in the media than movement and more speculation than acting.''

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