Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wenger Homing in on the Leaders during December

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wenger Homing in on the Leaders during December

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley Chief Football Correspondent

ARSENE WENGER today claimed December will be a pivotal month in Arsenal's Premier League aspirations and insists his side can still close the gap on leaders Manchester United.

The Gunners face Swansea tomorrow in the first of four home fixtures out of six League games scheduled for December.

Aside from next week's Champions League trip to Olympiakos and a Capital One Cup quarter-final against Bradford, Arsenal will play West Brom at home, Reading and Wigan away before two games in four days after Christmas at Emirates Stadium against West Ham and Newcastle.

After difficult trips to Everton and Aston Villa ended in draws, Wenger believes a return to north London can ignite a run of form to reduce the deficit to United, who are 12 points ahead after a 1-0 victory over West Ham on Wednesday.

Second-placed Manchester City are a point behind United -- six clear of third-placed Chelsea -- and Wenger said: "We will come back. Now we have six games, four at home. If we do well in this block of matches, I think we have a chance to come back. But, of course, it is vital for us to do well in these games.

"It's an unusual situation, especially after a ChampiLeague game to go twice from home. By coincidenis us but it is not welcome.

"It is at the moment, the two Manchester sides [setting the pace]. They have not been spectacular but efficient. They have made the maximum of the chances they created.

"For example, Manchester United have already lost three games and have lost in the Champions League. It is exactly what we did but they took more points and draws than we did when wThat has been the differen"

Wenger also believes skipper Thomas Vermae (right) is coming back to hbest form after a combative display against Everton on Wednesday. …

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