Arsène Wenger says the home crowd now give his side a “massive advantage” in matches at Emirates Stadium this season.

The Gunners are four points clear at the top of the table but enter a crucial period during which they will play seven matches before the turn of the year.

Wenger believes the faith the Arsenal supporters show in his team will be crucial to their hopes of maintaining their fine form.

“There is certainly more support from the stands than this time last year,” the manager said.

“It will be a massive advantage because when we have a difficult patch during a game, our fans feel it and support in response.

“Last year it was moaning when we had a weak period. You feel that. Of course it gives the players more belief and more desire.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Rob Kelly 3 Dec 2013