Petr Cech has refused to write-off Arsenal’s Premier League title chances after they climbed back into the top four with victory at Burnley on Sunday.
It was a victory that put them top of our Winners and Losers column.
The Gunners struck in stoppage time for the third game running against the Clarets as Alexis Sanchez’s penalty snatched them a barely-deserved win.
Sanchez converted after James Tarkowski’s push on Aaron Ramsey and although Arsenal trail leaders Manchester City by 12 points, Cech insists there is a long way to go.
“We need to play game by game and not think too much about what’s going on around us because the only way is if you win your game you give yourself a chance, so this is what we have in our mind,” said the Gunners goalkeeper.
“We win our game and let’s see how the others are going. The teams at this moment who are above us, if they keep going and keep winning, then you can’t catch them, but you need to make sure that you win your game first and then let’s see what will happen.”
Arsene Wenger’s side, buoyed by the previous week’s north London derby success against Tottenham, have struggled on the road – victory at Turf Moor was just their second away win in the Premier League this season.
But they have won four of their last five in the top flight and have closed to within a point of third-placed champions Chelsea.
“There are so many games to be played and so many points to play for and you don’t reach your goals after 13 games, you need to carry on for 30 games, with consistency obviously,” Cech said.
“There can be plenty of twists in the table as well because you win two games in a row you climb up and you can draw and fall out of the top four, so it will go pretty quick and is very packed up there and will be I think until the end of the season.”
Burnley did not deserve to lose, but neither did they in their previous two encounters with Arsenal.
Laurent Koscielny’s controversial winner in time added on in the corresponding fixture last season and Sanchez’s last-gasp spot-kick at the Emirates in January this year also left them empty-handed.
“It’s three times now (against Arsenal) at the end of the game, so we’re a bit frustrated,” said Burnley midfielder Steven Defour, who was replaced by Chris Wood with 11 minutes remaining.
“We’re really disappointed and a bit angry also. I didn’t see (the penalty) to be fair. I was sat on the bench. I just saw the referee pointing to the penalty spot and said ‘not again!’ It’s weird.”
Burnley will look to bounce straight back at Bournemouth on Wednesday – Arsenal play Huddersfield at home – and Belgian Defour was keen to focus on the positives.
“We’re proving every game, over and over again,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve stolen any points, all the points were deserved so this is a bit of a blow because we didn’t deserve to lose.
“It can be Arsenal or Chelsea – we’re proving that we’re not afraid of them and we’re not afraid to play some football.”