Arsenal’s Cech refuses to abandon title hope

Arsenal’s Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech dices to make a save from a shot by Tottenham Hotspur’s English defender Eric Dier (unseen) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 18, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASĀ 

Petr Cech believes Arsenal could be in contention for the Premier League title come the end of the season despite trailing leaders Manchester City by 12 points going into Wednesday’s match with Huddersfield.

A win would probably still leave the Gunners well adrift of record-breaking City, with Pep Guardialo’s unbeaten side hosting Southampton, but Cech — a four-time Premier League champion with Chelsea — is looking long-term.

“You have to play game by game, not think too much about what’s going on around you because if you win your game then you give yourself a chance,” he said.

“Let’s win our game and see how the others are doing. If the other teams at this moment above us keep going, keep winning, then you can’t catch them.

“First you need to win your games and keep putting pressure on them.”

Though City have left their rivals in the starting blocks, Cech believes there is still time for the situation to change drastically.

“It’s only 13 games in,” he said. “That’s the most important thing and there’s so many points to be won. You need to carry on for 38 games and show consistency.

“There can be plenty of twists in the table and you see yourselves climb after two wins then have a draw and fall out of the top four pretty quick.

“It’s packed in there and I think it will be until the end of the season.”

Arsenal broke into the top four with a 1-0 win at Burnley on Sunday, although that required a controversial stoppage-time penalty that was converted by Alexis Sanchez.

Wilshere in wings
Mesut Ozil missed that match because of illness and may not be risked against the Terriers, with Manchester United visiting the Emirates at the weekend.

That could open the door for Jack Wilshere to make his first Premier League start of the season.

The England midfielder, whose career has been hit hard by a series of injuries, has been used from the beginning in cup matches this term and came on in the 67th minute at Turf Moor for Alex Iwobi.

Wilshere is in the final year of his current contract, but has been reassured by manager Wenger that he is likely to get more action if he remains patient.

Huddersfield head to London having given Manchester City a hard time on Sunday, taking the lead but eventually losing 2-1 after Raheem Sterling netted a fortuitous late winner.

Defender Mathias Jorgensen — who wears the nickname ‘Zanka’ on his shirt — reckons the Terriers could use that disappointment to their advantage.

“We can learn that you don’t even have to make mistakes for them to punish you,” he said.

“Although the second goal is lucky, we have to remember how much quality is in their team. It’s on a different level to what you can imagine.

“It will be a great test for us and a big one especially going to play at somewhere like the Emirates, but realistically every game is a big game for us in this division.

“We all know that it’s a long season, but going into this busy period we want to be picking up some points, so hopefully we can get something in the next few games.”

Winger Rajiv van La Parra is suspended following his red card on Sunday for a clash with City’s Leroy Sane.



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