Arsene Wenger sees title heart from Arsenal
It is nine years since Arsenal last won a trophy and 10 years since they won the league, but the last-gasp 2-0 New Year`s Day win over Cardiff City confirmed their credentials as championship contenders.
While Manchester City and Chelsea remain on their coattails, Arsenal continue to defy those expecting them to fall away.
With time almost up and the game against Cardiff looking beyond them, goals from substitute Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott secured a win that kept them at the top of the table.
It was a game that Arsenal might have lost or drawn in recent campaigns, but this is a different side.
"We have a good togetherness in the side," said Wenger.
"The players come on with the right attitude and that makes the difference. You know that if you do not have that in the championship, then you have no chance to do it.
"We have that in the squad. We have to take care of that spirit and show it in every game."
Bendtner was the hero against Cardiff after making the all-important breakthrough with just two minutes left.
Once jeered by the Arsenal fans, the Denmark striker is slowly winning round those who had written him off after he spent the last two seasons out on loan.
However, Wenger revealed that he had sustained an ankle injury that is likely to keep him out for several weeks.
"He is a player who has gone through some difficult periods, so I just want to give him great credit," said Wenger.
"I told him already today (Wednesday) that he is back to the level I want him to be at, and if he continues to develop like that he will come back into the team.
"Unfortunately he has got injured and it looks like it is not a question of days, but weeks, with a sprained ankle. I am very sad for us, but for him as well."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in the directors` box as he edges closer to taking charge of Cardiff following Malky Mackay`s well-documented sacking.
The former Manchester United striker, now managing in his native Norway with Molde, would have been impressed by his potential new side and Wenger believes he stands to inherit a team capable of avoiding instant relegation.
"It is a chance for Ole," Wenger added.
"Basically what you want when you are young is a chance and after you have to make the maximum of that chance. He has already experience as a manager in Norway, so he has learnt his job.
"He was an intelligent player, so he is an intelligent boy as well, and that will help him to be successful."
Solskjaer`s imminent appointment could leave caretaker managers David Kerslake and Joe McBride searching for new jobs, but Kerslake said that they were more concerned by the welfare of the club.
"I believe that the squad we have is good enough to survive in the Premier League," he said.
"Whoever comes in, obviously there is an important month coming up and if he can add to it, if he can make the squad better, then all well and good, but I believe the team are good enough to stay up.
"Coaches and managers in football know that it`s a precarious job and we just get on with it. There`s no problem there."
AFP ---------------------------- ZEENEWS.com