Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has rubbished the suggestion that his side don’t have the right mentality to challenge for the Premier League title and has backed his side to win the championship this season.
“Other people question our mentality, but I don’t. Only one team has won the league without losing a game and that is Arsenal,” the veteran manager began, as per Goal.
“I heard on TV that ‘nobody wants to win this league’. But that is thinking in cliches. Everybody wants to win it, but it is difficult.
“Statistics show in eight of the past 11 seasons, the team top on New Year’s Day won the title. Maybe on the occasions we were top in the past it was because other teams did not play at full power, and we did.
“We are only halfway through the season but I am confident we will fight to stay top. Of course we can handle the pressure and we have to show we can deal with it and be competitive.
“I believe we are mature enough and have the required quality to fight and compete. The most important thing is to feel at the end of the season that we have given absolutely everything to be successful.
“If, after that, somebody has been better than us we will accept it. But it is reassuring to know that if your performances are right you do not rely on bad results from somebody else.”
Heading into the New Year, the Gunners appear to be in pole position to win their first EPL title in over a decade, as they sit atop the table, level on points with second-placed Leicester City.
With 39 points, Arsenal are three ahead of Manchester City in third and four clear of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
However, while they admittedly responded with a comfortable 2-0 victory at home to Bournemouth on December 28, their weaknesses were exposed in a major way on Boxing Day, as the north London heavyweights were demolished 4-0 by Southampton.
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The Gunners host Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, although by then, Wenger may be able to call upon one or two new faces, with the French coach having recently promised his side’s fans a busy January window.
Could Arsenal sign the players required to establish themselves as credible title challengers, or is 2016 set to be another frustrating year for the red half of north London.