Wenger: Gunners back in title fight
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal are back in the chase for the Premier League title after Saturday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over Sunderland.
The Gunners manager watched his side beat the Black Cats at Emirates Stadium to close to two points behind second-placed Manchester United and remain six behind leaders Chelsea.
Asked whether they were back in the title mix, Wenger replied: "We are. But the only thing we can do is win our games and hope the others drop points.
"The top two will drop points because they play against each other. Everton have beaten Chelsea and Manchester United and there are plenty of teams where you can drop points.
"We have two fights, one is to get away as far as possible from the teams in fourth, fifth and sixth and the other is to get as close as possible to the top."
Wenger revealed United’s defeat at Goodison in the early kick-off was not mentioned by his Arsenal players, who erased the disappointment of their midweek Champions League first leg defeat against Porto in midweek with a vibrant performance, especially in the first half.
He said: "We had good pace in the first half. We gave a lot physically on Wednesday night and you could see that.
"But the team is focused and responded well to the disappointment of Wednesday night and that’s all you can ask."
Wenger picked out Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Eboue for special mention.
Walcott was playing in front of England manager Fabio Capello and terrorised Sunderland’s defenders with his pace in the first half.
Wenger said: "He is much sharper than three weeks ago. He still lacks a bit of confidence in the final third but for 70 minutes he looked dangerous and I believe he is on the way up."
And the Gunners boss believes Eboue has silenced the doubters who jeered him so vociferously 12 months ago that Wenger was forced to substitute him.
Wenger said: "You can always change the opinion of people if you keep focus and produce on the pitch. The people who booed him one year ago love him now and that is down to his attitude and that is the credit he deserves. He’s a good football player."
For Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, who saw Kenwyne Jones, Darren Bent and Fraizer Campbell all miss good chances, the defeat stretched his side’s run without a win to 13 matches.
Bruce said: "It’s been a frustrating time. We feel as if the world is against us. We’ve had more chances today than I’ve had coming here in 10 years as a player or as a manager, really good chances, and we needed to take one. It’s disappointing that we haven’t taken something from it.
"We had to ride our luck a bit but the longer it went the more we came into it."
Bruce vowed his side would not surrender in their bid to claw their way out of relegation trouble.
He added: "I’m not going to single out Kenwyne Jones’ miss but when you come to Arsenal you have to take them. I’ve been delighted with the way they’ve played today and over the last two weeks we just haven’t got the rub of the green. We must stay positive and get through it.
"That is the Premier League. Sometimes it is unforgiving. Our luck will change. We’ve conceded four times in the last minute and could have been eight points better off.
"We have four games on the spin at home. That will define our season and I think we have enough to finish the season in a respectable position."