Fabregas: We will fight for league title

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The Independent Football

New Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has warned the race for the Barclays Premier League title is not over as he prepares to take his young Gunners to leaders Chelsea on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Spaniard's reign got off to a winning start with a 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev at Emirates Stadium last night, courtesy of a late goal from substitute Nicklas Bendtner which put Arsenal through to the last 16 of the Champions League.

While Arsene Wenger's men remain on course in Europe, their domestic challenge has stuttered in recent weeks after the win over Manchester United, the squad enduring a difficult spell on and off the pitch which resulted in former captain William Gallas being stripped of the armband following public criticism of his team-mates.

Arsenal head to Stamford Bridge 10 points off the pace after five defeats already this season.

And another this weekend would leave their title hopes all but over before Christmas and facing a real fight to get back into the top four.

However, Fabregas feels there is plenty of football left in Arsenal between now and May.

He said: "The aim is to lift a trophy. We are in the last 16 of the Champions League and are in contention in every competition.

"We have played only 14 league games this season and it is not over yet. Nothing is done and we will fight until the end.

"Our target is to go there and win, because we could get some points back.

"The other teams at the top have some difficult games as well, so we will see."

Arsenal finally broke down Kiev last night when a quick long ball up field from Fabregas picked out Bendtner, who produced a fine finish with only three minutes left on the clock.

Fabregas accepts it can sometimes be difficult for Arsenal to play their way through to goal, but is not expecting a cat-and-mouse affair at Stamford Bridge.

He added: "We have to play as a team and when we play good and quick passing, we can play against anybody and win.

"Arsenal never go for a draw, we always go for a win and I am sure a club like Chelsea will do the same as well because every time I have played against them they have always gone forwards, to go for the victory."

Wenger believes Fabregas will grow into his captain's role and the young Spaniard is determined to keep his feet on the ground.

He said: "It was a normal game for me and I don't really think about it. I am committed to the game and I do not realise if I am wearing the armband or not.

"I just to try to play for Arsenal and my team-mates and give my best."

Wenger feels former Chelsea defender Gallas had been the victim of a "witch hunt" from the English media.

And full-back Gael Clichy believes while his team-mate may well have had justifiable cause for concern, he insisted everyone at Arsenal is now looking forwards.

He told L'Equipe: "William is perhaps right in what he said, but that sort of stuff is between him and the coach.

"They have explained themselves to each other, but it is a shame all the same. If that broke something in the squad, it is sorted now.

"Now we can no longer look back. It is up to the players and the staff to put all the pieces back together and go as before. We must put the resentment to one side and forget about it."

Arsenal have nine first-team players in the treatment room, but could have midfielder Samir Nasri (knee), Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor and defender Bacary Sagna (both ankle) available this weekend.

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