'The title is Chelsea's to lose,' claims Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger
Frenchman steps up the mind-games as the season enters 'squeaky bum-time'
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that while his team are still in the Premier League title race, only Chelsea can lose it, and insists Jose Mourinho's attempts to dismiss his team's chances are because he is scared to fail.
The Gunners face Liverpool in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday looking to make amends for their 5-1 thrashing against the same team at Anfield in the league last week, and are now one point behind leaders Jose Mourinho's side in the division. Manchester City sit two points behind Arsenal, but have a game in hand.
Both Mourinho and City manager Manuel Pellegrini, though, have attempted to distance themselves from the idea they are the favourites to win the title this season, and Wenger had a swift response to their cautious attitude.
"It is fear to fail," Wenger said in his press briefing today. "The title race is very open, only Chelsea can lose it now because they are in front."
Wenger maintains his only focus will be on making sure Arsenal can finish above their rivals come May.
"If you're not in the race you cannot lose it, if you declare yourself not in the race you cannot lose it, simple as that," he said.
"I think just that our job is to be ambitious and to try to win, if we do not win to take full responsibility for that. That's as simple as that and that's how I see it.
"I say yes we are in it, yes we will have a go for it, we will absolutely give everything to go for it and if we don't do I will take responsibility for it, but I just see it like that."
Wenger added: "We live in a league and in a country where we have one advantage - everybody can think what he wants, [but] it is very difficult when you're first in the league to distract people."
On the Champions League front, Arsenal face the daunting prospect of Bayern Munich in the first-leg of the first knockout round on Wednesday.
Latest in Sport
Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Xabi Alonso to be quizzed before £18m Asier Illarramendi bid; Battle on for Rickie Lambert
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City, United want Gareth Bale
Arsenal vs Aston Villa report: Inspirational Mesut Ozil takes chance to regain limelight from Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal 5 Aston Villa 0 player ratings: Mesut Ozil or Santi Cazorla? Who stole the show at the Emirates Stadium?
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Marco Reus 'wants to work with Arsene Wenger'; Nicolas Otamendi link; Jose Luis Gaya clause met
- 1 Three-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother and father in New Mexico
- 2 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign