By Richard Clarke

The title winners will be decided by mental strength and the matches between the top three, according to Arsène Wenger.

The Arsenal manager saw his side go two points clear at the weekend after they beat Manchester City while Manchester United only drew at Tottenham. Third-place Chelsea also dropped points after being held at Portsmouth. Those results will have come as a surprise to some because it was Wenger's men who were being backed to buckle when the pressure was on. However the manager believes that facet of football will have a significant role in the run-in - along with the 'six-pointers'.

"The mental aspect of the game will be important but so will the direct confrontations," he said. "They have a major part to play."

Whatever happens, it is promising to be one of the tightest title races in years and Wenger believes Avram Grant's side will be in the thick of it.

"I don't rule out Chelsea because they have to play at home against Man United and Arsenal," he said. "They have already put wins together when they have had players out. I don't think we can rule them out, it will be amongst these three."

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Richard Clarke 5 Feb 2008