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Defiant Wenger insists 'Arsenal are still in title race'


Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

Getty Images

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal are still in contention for the Premier League title and it is too soon to say that leaders Chelsea can go through the season undefeated, manager Arsene Wenger has claimed.

Wenger's so-called "Invincibles" team achieved that feat over 38 league games in 2003-04, but he said that Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, with seven wins and two draws from the opening nine games, still have much to do.

"Chelsea are in a strong position but it would not be realistic to judge them now," he said. "There are how many games played? There's a long way to go. It's too early."

Arsenal lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge earlier this month and have won only three of their nine games, leaving them nine points behind the leaders.

But Wenger, speaking ahead of today's home game against bottom club Burnley, said the statistics did not take into account who they had played or the number of away games.

"I do not write ourselves off," he added. "I have a strong belief we will come back and we can just prove that on the pitch." Arsenal, who play at home to Anderlecht in the Champions League on Tuesday, have also had a number of injury problems and Wenger confirmed that midfielder Jack Wilshere is likely to miss the Burnley game.

He is suffering from a kick on the knee, but Wenger hopes to have him available against Anderlecht.

On Wilshere, Wenger said: "There is a slight problem with Wilshere. I don't think he'll be available against Burnley. It's very, very short term. He got a kick on his knee. I don't know if Anderlecht on Tuesday will be too early or not. He's not training at the moment. Certainly Swansea, yes."

The manager said Theo Walcott was coming back to fitness and French striker Olivier Giroud was "three weeks ahead of schedule and I think he will join in normal training after the international break".

"Theo is not ready yet. He's been out for too long to start the game. If I can give him some competition I'm happy to do it," Wenger said.