By Chris Harris

Laurent Koscielny believes Arsenal have established themselves as the main challengers to Manchester United in the race to be Premier League champions.

Sir Alex Ferguson's pacesetters beat Aston Villa on Tuesday night but they could not extend their five-point lead at the top because Arsenal fought back from a goal down to overcome Everton at Emirates Stadium.

Arsène Wenger's side had to show character as well as class to stay in touch with the unbeaten leaders and Koscielny - who scored Arsenal's winner - thinks they are the team United should fear the most as they chase the Premier League crown.

"It looks like we are the main contender," said Koscielny.

"They are five points ahead of us, they've already got more points on Man City, Chelsea and the others. Those teams can come back strong as well but it looks like we can challenge United.

"We just need to focus on our games and not look too much at theirs. If we keep winning, hopefully they will drop points at some point. If we keep winning we can catch up with them.

"It's not going to be easy but we've got big faith in ourselves and in the squad. We do believe we can do it."

The sheer competitiveness of this season's Premier League has seen all of the top teams drop plenty of points along the way and, although United currently hold a five-point advantage, Koscielny insists that is not insurmountable.

"Anything can happen in this league this season," he said. "You saw on Tuesday night that it was a tough game for us against a very good Everton team and it will be the same for United in the last games of the season.

"We need to stay focused and keep working hard together - that is the key because if we don't concede goals we will always have an opportunity to score ourselves.

"It is going to be a big battle between us and United and hopefully they will drop more points than us."

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
2 Feb 2011