Wenger: Gunners need to be perfect
Arsene Wenger accepts Arsenal's final seven Premier League games of the season must be perfect if they are to go on and win the title.
The Gunners briefly returned to the top of the table last weekend when they beat relegation battlers West Ham with 10 men at Emirates Stadium.
However, both Manchester United and now Chelsea, following last night's resounding 5-0 victory at bottom club Portsmouth, are back above them.
With just two points separating the challengers, and Chelsea still to face United at Old Trafford next month, the title race looks set to go right down to the wire.
Arsenal head to Birmingham on Saturday, while United travel to Bolton and Chelsea host top-six contenders Aston Villa.
Wenger accepts the Gunners - who looked out of it eight weeks ago following successive defeats to their rivals - have been given something of a helping hand by others dropping points, and called on his young squad not to make the same mistakes.
"What we know is we have three teams in the race, and it will be down to the team which is the most consistent," the Arsenal manager declared.
"We can only focus on our own performance because we know our route has to be perfect.
"To be perfect, it is important we focus on our performances.
"We needed some help from the other teams, but we know even that only now works if we are consistent and can keep our momentum.
"We have created a fantastic momentum and a great belief within our squad, but the consistency of our run is the most important."
Of the top three, Arsenal have the inferior goal difference, by seven.
However, with matches against the likes of Wolves and Wigan, the Gunners could yet claw that back.
"It could go to goal difference, but then let's make sure it does because that will mean we will be there," said Wenger. "But I think at the moment nobody knows about that.
"The one thing we know is that us winning our games will make it happen."
Arsenal will be without centre-half Thomas Vermaelen at St Andrew's, as the Belgian serves a one-match ban after the club failed in their appeal to overturn his red card against West Ham.
Veteran Sol Campbell had already been filling in for the injured William Gallas, but Wenger has no intentions of resting the 35-year-old ahead of next week's Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona.
"I will pick him for the next game because for me the next game is an important one," said Wenger, who is likely to draft former United defender Mikael Silvestre into the back four at Birmingham.
"I don't consider Barcelona for the next game.
"At the back we need to be solid to win this game.
"We have fought the whole season to be in there and this is a priority."