Campbell ready for tough run-in

The Gunners are very much in the hunt for a first championship

since Campbell led the ‘Invincibles’ of 2003/2004 following a

last-gasp 2-1 victory at struggling Hull on Saturday, where Nicklas

Bendtner’s stoppage-time goal paved the way for the Tigers to

dismiss manager Phil Brown. Only two points now separate the top

three, although Chelsea have played a game less. Indeed, Sir Alex

Ferguson suggested Arsenal “might yet mount the biggest challenge”

after his Manchester United side leapfrogged the Blues with victory

over Fulham. Next up for Arsene Wenger’s men are relegation

battlers West Ham, while Wolves and Wigan also visit the Emirates

Stadium next month. However, there is also the small matter of a

clash against top-four hopefuls Manchester City and the

north-London derby with Tottenham at While Hart Lane to negotiate.

Campbell – the 35-year-old former Gunners skipper, who rejoined

them on a short-term deal during January – maintains there is no

such thing as a soft touch in the Premier League. “We kept fighting

and got the win in the end, and we do not care as long as the win

comes,” Campbell told Arsenal TV Online. “It is never easy, you

have to win and earn your rights, you have to play good football –

nobody is just going to give you three points in this league, no

chance. “We just have to keep focused, picking up the wins and stay

in there.” Arsenal’s title credentials have already been written

off more than once this season, most notably following successive

defeats by their direct rivals at the start of February. Therefore,

Wenger is unlikely to give too much credence to the same critics

now championing his side. Denmark striker Bendtner remains happy to

let other people talk while the Gunners go about their business. “A

lot of things are said in football, a lot of comments made –

everyone has their opinions,” Bendtner said. “I cannot really say

what is the difference [in Arsenal this season], but we are winning

and just have to keep doing that.” The 22-year-old put his own

inconsistencies behind him with another crucial strike to add to

the hat-trick which sunk Porto and booked Arsenal’s place in the

quarter-finals of the Champions League. Bendtner was glad to be

back among the goals again, but stressed results, rather than

individual performances, were the priority. “I am happy to be

scoring again after last weekend, when everything went wrong,” said

the Dane, who missed a string of chances in the 3-1 victory over

Burnley. “I was in all the right places but just did not finish.

Sometimes this happens in football. “Luckily, the chances which

have come since, I have finished.” Bendtner told BBC Sport: “But

the three points was the most important thing, whomever would have

scored. “Now we need to win the rest of our games so we can reach

our targets.” Wenger is delighted his young squad have shown the

strength of character to haul themselves back into the hunt

following a fifth straight league win. “With eight games – four at

home, four away – left, we are still in the race, So let’s have a

go,” the Arsenal manager declared. “The rest of the season will be

tight, interesting and exciting.” Arsenals’ hard-fought win at the

KC Stadium, where Hull produced a resilient effort following the

dismissal of captain George Boateng at the end of the first half,

was completed without the services of injured skipper Cesc

Fabregas. Wenger revealed the influential Spain midfielder could be

back in contention for the visit of struggling West Ham as he

nurses a hamstring problem. Czech winger Tomas Rosicky also failed

to make the trip to Hull because of a groin problem, but should be

fit by the weekend. However, centre-back William Gallas remains

sidelined with a niggling calf injury, so Campbell is in line for

another run-out against the Hammers.