Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed his side are still contenders to win this season's Premier League title - even after falling 11 points behind leaders Manchester United after Saturday's 3-3 home draw against Fulham.
Despite a series of setbacks in recent weeks, Wenger is confident that his developing side is capable of launching a push for the biggest prize in English football from their current position of eighth place in the Premier League.
His optimism remains intact despite a run that has seen the Gunners collect just one win in their last four league games, with their creaking defence conceding 14 goals in their last four fixtures alone.
When asked whether his side could emerge as shock title challengers in the second half of the season, Wenger's response was unequivocal.
"Of course, yes why not," he said. "We had come through three difficult games, especially the first two. We had to recover from the United game and then we gave it all in Germany.
"All of us were disappointed not to beat Fulham because we had the chances to do that and in the end we were frustrated, but there were many positives to take from the game. Our performances are not as big a disaster as some people like to portray them and I still have great belief in this team."
The improved performance of striker Olivier Giroud was the most notable plus point for Wenger after his summer signing scored twice against Fulham on Saturday, leaving the French striker to conclude he is getting to grips with life in the Premier League.
"I feel better and better," Giroud told the Arsenal website. "I'm confident about my qualities and I never give up. When I didn't score at the beginning of the season, I stayed confident and always worked on my mind and my game. I think there is a lot of quality in this team and we will have better days in front of us."