By Chris Harris

Nineteen games, 44 points. Arsenal may have slipped off their perch at the top of the Premier League but at the halfway stage of the season it's a case of 'so far, so good'.

Arsène Wenger's side have lost just once and lie one point adrift of the leaders, Manchester United. As far as Gael Clichy is concerned, the title will be within Arsenal's grasp if they maintain their standards in the second half of the season.

"I think it's not too bad," he told "It's a shame we couldn't stay top until the New Year but that's the way it is. Manchester United are a strong side, Liverpool and Chelsea as well.

"We know the race for the title is going to be tough. United went in front of us today but let's do a good job at Everton at the weekend. We can be first again in the New Year. It would be great for us and for the fans."

Arsenal were widely regarded as also-rans last summer in the wake of Thierry Henry's departure plus major investment from their title rivals. Indeed, Tottenham were tipped to replace the Gunners in the Premier League's top four.

In that respect Wenger's side have exceeded most pre-season expectations. But is Clichy surprised that Arsenal have set the pace for much of the campaign?

"No, not at all," he insisted. "When you play for a club like Arsenal you just want to win all the games and be the best at the top level.

"Week-in week-out you have to be focused for every game, even in the Carling Cup. You have to be ready because the team needs you. The objective is the same - we have to win, win and win again."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Chris Harris 27 Dec 2007