By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believed Arsenal could win the title when they were 11 points behind the leaders - and he can see no reason to change his mind now.

The Frenchman was in a minority when he declared that his team would bridge that sizeable gap to Chelsea in the wake of their 3-0 defeat to the Blues at Emirates Stadium on November 29. Indeed, Wenger was ridiculed by some for suggesting such a thing.

But his prediction has come to pass and Arsenal now find themselves looking down on the rest of the Premier League after taking 23 points from a possible 27.

Manchester United will take top spot if they beat Hull City on Saturday - while Chelsea have a game in hand on the current leaders - but Wenger believes his side can stay the distance in the title race and he is not afraid to admit it.

"I believed when we were 11 points behind so why should we not believe?" asked the manager at his pre-match press conference.

"In England you are always scared to say you believe. The fear has not to be not to win. We are all in the competition to try to win and if I, as manager, don't believe we can win today, I should resign.

"I believe that the competition is hard but we have a good chance and the most important thing is to do the maximum we can with our potential. I believe we have a good potential - there is a long way to go but we are ready for the fight."

Arsenal are top of the Premier League for the first time since August 28 and, although the prizes won't be handed out for four more months, Wenger believes that his team gained momentum from their back-to-back wins over Bolton.

"Top of the league is interesting psychologically but mathematically there is very little difference especially with Chelsea having a game in hand," he said.

"But we are happy because we had two difficult games. When you play a team with a new manager it is always difficult to win and we have created a good momentum in our last nine games. Every game now becomes important."

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
22 Jan 2010