February 9, 2017 / 12:03 PM / 6 months ago

Arsenal's title bid "never over" for fighting Wenger

Britain Football Soccer - Chelsea v Arsenal - Premier League - Stamford Bridge - 4/2/17 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger arrives before the game Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley Livepic/File Photo

(Reuters) - Arsene Wenger refused to give up on Arsenal's chances of winning this season's Premier League, despite trailing Chelsea by 12 points after a 3-1 weekend defeat by the league leaders.

Arsenal, who are in fourth place with their title challenge in peril after back-to-back league defeats by Chelsea and Watford, play third-bottom Hull City on Saturday.

"It is never over," Arsenal's manager Wenger told a news conference on Thursday. "We are not to behave like that. Even if you (the media) think like that, I don't.

"We are all in a pack that is very tight and the fight for every position is massive as it has always been in the Premier League -- maybe even more so this season.

"The way we respond to a disappointing result last Saturday is vital. If it is over for us then it is over for everyone else because we are in a pack."

Arsenal, who finished runners-up to surprise winners Leicester City last season, last won the Premier League in 2003-04.

A section of Arsenal's supporters expressed their displeasure with Wenger after the Chelsea loss, and the manager called for a united front as the team looks to rekindle its challenge.

"Our fans have been consistent and have a high level of expectation as I do, but I don't feel you can be a fan until last Tuesday and then not be behind the team any more -- it doesn't make sense," he said.

"All the other clubs, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, they have big expectations and big history. We are in a fight and we have to be united or we have no chance.

"You have Tottenham as well and everyone is behind their team and we have to do the same. Even if we have had two disappointing results I want the fans to be behind the team. Focus on what we do well."

Defender Hector Bellerin, who was forced off with a head injury against Chelsea, faces a late fitness test before he is cleared to face Hull, with Wenger expecting to learn on Friday if the Spaniard will be available for selection.

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith

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