Wenger issues call to arms as Arsenal eye title charge

ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger has urged his side to seize the chance to turn up the heat in the title race tonight when Bolton visit the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger’s men will climb to second in the Premier League and just one point behind leaders Chelsea if they continue their winning streak this evening.

The Gunners’ new-found optimism is a far cry from the misery that greeted their 3-0 home drubbing by the Blues just five weeks ago. But a run of five wins from six league games since then has propelled Arsenal back into the hunt while Chelsea and Manchester United have slumped.

“We have a good opportunity to come back very close to Chelsea, and we want to take it, to make it more interesting for everybody,” said Wenger.

“One month ago we were far from the top teams, and since have created momentum. We refused to give up and continued to fight and believe in our strengths.

“The biggest test in our camp was the mental strengths of the players and the solidarity of the players. That has been tested. What we have realised in one month gives us a good springboard to go even further. Why should we stop here? The next two months will determine how ambitious and how hungry we are.”

Wenger is set to recall fit-again Denilson in place of midfield anchorman Alex Song, who has flown to Angola to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations. Forward Andrey Arshavin will also return after missing Sunday’s FA Cup win at West Ham, but captain Cesc Fabregas and defender Gael Clichy have both been written off until after the weekend visit of Everton.

Bolton, meanwhile, had hoped to finalise the appointment of Owen Coyle as manager in time for the match but, while the Scot is keen to join, a compensation package in the region of £3m has still to be agreed with Burnley. Caretakers Steve Wigley and Chris Evans, who took charge of Saturday’s cup win over Lincoln City, are again poised to be at the helm.