LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels his team can resurrect their sinking title challenge in December after a disappointing start to the season left them trailing in the wake of the Premier League's pacesetters.
The north London club are currently seventh in the table and 12 points behind leaders Manchester United but, ever the optimist, Wenger feels a good run as the calendar year winds to a close can propel them back into the race.
Arsenal have played eight of their 14 matches to date away from home, but four of their six December fixtures are at the Emirates Stadium.
"At the moment the two Manchester sides (are ahead)," Wenger said on the club website (www.arsenal.com). "They have not been spectacular but efficient, and they have made the maximum of the chances they have created.
"For example, Manchester United have already lost three games and have lost in the Champions League as well. It is exactly what we have done but they took more points and had less draws than we did. That has been the difference until now.
"We will come back. Now we have six games, four at home, and if we do well in this block I think we have a chance to come back. But of course it is vital for us to do well in these games."
Arsenal face Swansea City at home on Saturday (1500 GMT) and the manager is sweating on the fitness of right back Bacary Sagna, who is doubtful with a foot injury he picked up in their 1-1 draw with Everton on Wednesday.
"(Sagna) got a knock at the start of the game when he cleared a ball. It is inflamed and he is a big doubt," Wenger said.
Defender Laurent Koscielny is definitely out after the France international limped out of the midweek game.
"It is a muscular problem, a thigh problem," Wenger added. "That is normally three weeks."
Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Mark Meadows