Football

Wenger: We are in title fight

Arsenal boss says Gunners must continue to do well against mid-table opposition

Arsene Wenger saw his Arsenal beat Stoke to go top of the Premier League on Saturday before declaring they are "in the fight" to be crowned champions.

The Gunners came from behind to record a 3-1 win over their visitors, with Theo Walcott, Mesut Oezil and Alex Iwobi striking after Charlie Adam marked his 31st birthday with a penalty to put Stoke ahead.

The result means Arsenal are unbeaten in the league since their opening weekend loss at home to Liverpool as they temporarily went top of the table on goal difference ahead of Chelsea, who beat West Brom 1-0 yesterday.

But overnight at least, Wenger could toast being top as he looks for a first league title since 2004, and the Frenchman insists his side will be there or thereabouts come the end of the campaign.

"It's good. But let's wait until tomorrow," he said when asked about going top.

"At the minute, there is no difference anyway with the other teams, there is Chelsea v West Brom tomorrow.

"But we are in there. No matter what the results will be. So that's good ­-we are in the fight.

IMPROVED

"We were not too bad last year. We finished second in the league. I believe we have improved, yes. But we have to show that in the longer term.

"I believe that we have created confidence, I think we are ambitious - but what is at stake is to keep urgency levels very high, humility levels very high and togetherness very high.

"We have to show that in every single game now. Then we will see where we stand."

Wenger wants to see further improvements on last season, when Arsenal finished a distant second to surprise champions Leicester, starting with this kind of performance against mid-table opposition.

Wenger said: "When you analyse last season at home, we did very well against the top five and we dropped points between fifth and 12th at home, teams in mid-table.

"Certainly, that is our challenge this year, to continue to do well against the top teams but as well in these kind of games, like Stoke today, where you have to win and we dropped some points last year."

Wenger was not happy at the awarding of Stoke's penalty as referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot following a collision between Joe Allen and Granit Xhaka.

RATTLED

Adam stroked home the resulting penalty and Arsenal were rattled. They had already lost Shkodran Mustafi to a hamstring injury.

But they levelled just before the break as Walcott swept home a low cross from Mustafi's replacement, Hector Bellerin, and were ahead after the interval when Oezil headed in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's ball.

The points, and a temporary place at the head of the Premier League, were assured when substitute Iwobi finished well after Mason had played an advantage following a foul on Alexis Sanchez.

The result brought to an end a decent run of form for the Potters, but boss Mark Hughes was largely happy with their efforts at the Emirates Stadium.

"I was reasonably pleased to a point," Hughes said.

"I have brought teams here in the past and not got out of my own half.

"There have been very few occasions where we have created so many chances as we did against a very good Arsenal side." - PA SPORT

arsene wengerarsenalStoke City