By Chris Harris
Gael Clichy has urged Arsenal to "dig in" as they look to resurrect their title challenge in the wake of Sunday's loss at Chelsea.
A first-half brace from Didier Drogba condemned Arsène Wenger's side to a second successive defeat, leaving them nine points adrift of Chelsea in the Premier League and seven behind last weekend's conquerors, Manchester United.
With 13 games remaining Arsenal have the proverbial mountain to climb if they are to bring the title back to North London. However, they bridged an 11-point gap at the top of the table after losing to Chelsea in November and Clichy believes that hard work and a bit more fortune can help Arsenal bounce back again.
"It is even more complicated now to win the league but we have to keep fighting until the end," he said.
"We have seen since the start of the season, everyone can drop points against anyone. Of course, it would have been better to win [on Sunday] and against Man United but that is the way it is. We have to keep going. We need to be more decisive in the right moments and the best thing to do is to carry on fighting.
"The rule in sport is when you want to be the best, after every defeat you have to ask the right questions to yourself and the team. You have to go again and dig in. That is what we are going to start doing again in training because it is only with hard work and a bit of luck that things can happen. Maybe then we can go somewhere."
A glance at the fixture list does offer a few crumbs of comfort for Arsenal. Chelsea and United both have the rest of the top seven to face before the end of the season - including each other - while the Gunners have, on paper at least, an easier run-in.
The ingredients are in place for another long winning run for Wenger's team but Clichy refuses to look beyond the next fixture - another tough one at home to Liverpool on Wednesday.
"We don’t have to look for a long run - we have to think game after game and it starts with Liverpool," said the left-back. "We have to think one game at a time but the less we lose, the better it will be.
"It is not going to be easy but it is not finished. We were 11 points behind and came back so we have to hope they [Chelsea and United] drop points and make sure we don’t drop any points. Let’s work on it, next we play against a good side in Liverpool. It is going to be difficult but we have to do it because if we want to be the best we have to compete."Copyright 2013 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 8 Feb 2010