Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants his team to focus on maintaining their own performances levels over the final nine Premier League games rather than worry about whether leaders Chelsea might slip up again.
Despite having gone out of the Champions League to Monaco on away goals after Wednesday night's 2-0 win at the Stade Louis II Stadium, with a run of eight victories from the last nine league matches, Arsenal are certainly in fine domestic form, having also progressed to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they will face Reading at Wembley on April 18.
Following last weekend's Premier League results, which saw Manchester City lose and leaders Chelsea held to a draw at Stamford Bridge by Southampton, Blues boss Jose Mourinho declared the Gunners now back in the title race, albeit still seven points behind and having played a match more.
Arsenal will host Chelsea at the end of April, but Wenger maintains his men must first continue to deliver consistent results and not concern themselves with the form of other sides.
"At the moment we are too far away from Chelsea, but we have an opportunity every week to get closer and for that we need positive results from us, and negative results from Chelsea. The only thing we can master is positive results from us," said Wenger, who takes his team to Newcastle on Saturday.
"I believe Chelsea still has a very good cushion and very good security."
Monaco 0 Arsenal 2 player ratings
Monaco 0 Arsenal 2 player ratings
1/24 MONACO Danijel Subasic
Looked suspect as Arsenal started to pepper his goal. Giroud made sure he got in the keeper’s face a number of times to distract him. Did enough in the end. 7/10
A quite poor display from the Brazilian. He struggled to contain Welbeck in the first half and Walcott in the second. 6
He was left to deal with Ozil and he did that job with relative ease. 6
4/24 Aymen Abdennour
An assured performance up against Giroud. Strong and positioned himself well 7
5/24 Layvin Kurzawa
Similar to the first leg, he never stopped charging forward. He was quick enough to track back and defend too. Didn’t close down Ramsey for Arsenal’s second goal. 6
6/24 Nabil Dirar
On the counter-attack he was very dangerous for Monaco but should have taken advantages of his chances better than he did. 6
7/24 Jeremy Toulalan
Back from injury and Monaco’s captain organised his midfield well. He won the majority of his battles with Cazorla. 7
8/24 Geoffrey Kondogbia
He was strong and intelligent but after he was booked early in the second half he lacked intensity. 6
9/24 Anthony Martial
Subbed after 58 minutes and didn’t play anywhere near as good as he did in the first leg. 5
10/24 Joao Moutinho
The creative midfielder showed again why Tottenham should have taken a chance when they were interested. 7
11/24 Dimitar Berbatov
Held the ball up well and tried to get a shot off whenever possible. Replaced by Silva on 68 minutes. 6
12/24 From the bench: Yannick Ferreira Carrasco
Showed a lot of energy when he came on. 7
13/24 ARSENAL: David Ospina
Colombian had precious little to do as the vast majority of the match took place in Monaco’s half. His poor display in first leg ultimately proved costly. 6/10
14/24 Hector Bellerin
Spaniard has impressed in recent weeks and put in a steady performance. Accomplished in defence and got forward to provide crosses from flank. 8
15/24 Per Mertesacker
Has not enjoyed his best season but marshalled backline well - not that that kept him overly busy. Slow to push up as Driar was harshly given offside. 6
16/24 Laurent Koscielny
Volleyed against bar when called offside and offered imposing threat at set-pieces. Made vital last ditch challenge on Ferreira-Carrasco. 7
17/24 Nacho Monreal
Offers more defensively than Gibbs and did not lack for effort as Monaco reorganised. His cross ultimately led to Ramsey’s goal but he tired near the end. 7
18/24 Francis Coquelin
Fortunate to escape booking after sliding in on Moutinho. Broke up attacks with ease to initiate Arsenal attacks. Sacrificed for Ramsey. 7
19/24 Santi Cazorla
Volleyed effort blocked by Wallace but unable to greatly influence from deeper role. Rarely ceded possession and but to no overall result. 6
20/24 Alexis Sanchez
Has shown signs of returning to form and shone in touches. Harshly booked for going to ground in area. Spent a lot of time on the ground. 6
21/24 Mesut Ozil
Did not impress with final ball and swapped shirts at half-time. Freshly attired, forced Subasic to tip free-kick over bar. Shot wide when well placed. 7
22/24 Danny Welbeck
Struggled with touch early on but fine ball for opener. Almost added an instant second and forraged to good effect. Replaced by Walcott. 7
23/24 Olivier Giroud
Strong challenge on Abdennour. Headed over bar and struggled with decision making before thrashing rebound for first. Missed late chances. 7
24/24 From the bench: Aaron Ramsey
Came on for Coquelin halfway through second half as Arsenal chased their second - something the Welshman duly provided within 15 minutes. 7
Wenger continued: "It is very tight.
"We are on the neck of Man City, but straight behind us we have Man United and Liverpool, even Tottenham and Southampton are not completely out of it.
"But we just have to focus on our performances and our strengths. I do not count on the weaknesses of any of our opponents.
"It is down to our performances until the end of the season."
German midfielder Mesut Ozil believes the Arsenal players have the needed focus to deliver.
He said on the club's official website: "In the Premier League everything is possible and we have to look forward now.
"We have important games in front of us that we want to be successful in."
Newcastle may have some selection concerns, with head coach John Carver having only some 13 fit senior outfield players, but Wenger is expecting the home support to lift the beleaguered Magpies.
"Newcastle is always very tight, very difficult games," he said.
"They always have a very motivated crowd and they always play well against us."
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