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Wenger: We won't crack in title race

PUBLISHED: 15:36 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:15 22 July 2010

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 02:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Portsmouth at the Emirates Stadium on September 2, 2007 in London, England.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 02: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Portsmouth at the Emirates Stadium on September 2, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

2007 Getty Images

ARSENE WENGER has vowed Arsenal will not lose their nerve as the Premier League title race goes down to the wire. The Gunners moved two points clear at the top after they won 3-1 at Manchester City on Saturday while title rivals Manchester United and Chel

ARSENE WENGER has vowed Arsenal will not lose their nerve as the Premier League title race goes down to the wire.

The Gunners moved two points clear at the top after they won 3-1 at Manchester City on Saturday while title rivals Manchester United and Chelsea could both only manage draws.

And Wenger believes Arsenal's current form which has seen them win their last three games has been the perfect response following the Carling Cup drubbing at the hands of local rivals Spurs, after which the side's resolve was questioned.

"I think we've answered those critics with our last three results," said Wenger this week.

"I think I was the only person who didn't think we'd crack up after we lost to Spurs in the Carling Cup, I was never concerned at all.

"I knew before that game that we were fielding an inexperienced side and that we could lose the match," added Wenger whose side now entertain Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates on Monday night.

Despite third-placed Chelsea slipping six points behind the Gunners, Wenger is adamant that the title race is very much a three-horse race, and that mental strength will play a big part.

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

"I don't rule out Chelsea because they have to play at home against Man United and Arsenal.

"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."

And Wenger added that he feels this year's champions might have to secure a record haul of points such is the quality of the top three.

"We have 60 [points] now and that is phenomenal. I don't know how much will be needed but it looks it will be around the 90s."

Meanwhile the Gunners boss is sweating on whether or not his African players will be back in time to be considered for the FA Cup fifth round clash at Manchester United a week on Saturday.

Ivory Coast pair Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue, together with Cameroon's Alex Song are all in action today (Thursday) in the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Win or lose they will be involved in the final (on Sunday) or third place play-off this weekend, and Wenger will not expect them back until early next week.

After six games in little more than 20 days, Wenger will then have to assess whether the trio are ready to be considered against United or kept fresh for the Champions League last 16 first leg clash with AC Milan on February 20.


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