Wenger targeting title race
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the frantic Christmas schedule can expand the Barclays Premier League title charge beyond a two-horse race.
The Gunners trail leaders Chelsea by 15 points and while it appears to be a straight shootout between Jose Mourinho's side and reigning champions Manchester City, Wenger insists the landscape can change over the next week.
Three games in seven days has convinced Wenger that if Arsenal and those trailing the pacesetters can stitch together a series of results, a new contender could emerge.
"It can still change. Let's see how the schedule goes over Christmas. We'll have a much better idea at the beginning of January," Wenger said.
"The next three or four games are important. Chelsea will be in the fight for the title, for sure, but will it only be Chelsea and Man City?
"Today you can say maybe, but it is still a long way off. Chelsea are in the Champions League, Man City as well.
"Then you have the FA Cup and Chelsea play in the League Cup. There is still a long way to go.
"But what is for sure is that the teams like us and those around us need to be massively consistent to have a chance of coming back."
Arsenal topped the table on January 1 of this year only to finish the season fourth, seven points adrift of City. Wenger denies his team have regressed, however.
"I don't think we have gone backwards in the quality of our squad because if you look at the five players that we bought, you cannot say that one of the five is a failure," Wenger said.
"I can't deny we are behind much more than last year, but we have had a depleted squad since the start of the season and no stability.
"The fact that we got so many important injuries at the back has cost us too much."
Wenger would like to see the Premier League's traditional festive schedule preserved, but has called for the introduction of the type of winter break seen in Germany.
"Maybe it would be good for the English national team to have a break in January. Respect the English tradition and give a winter break in January," he said.
"If you look at the history, is it a coincidence that the German national team has always done well in the big tournaments when England hasn't done so well?
"It is just Germany who has the longest winter break in Europe, among the big countries.
"And by coincidence, they always do well in tournaments because they have refreshed players."