'I believe we can win the title' - Wenger

September 18, 2006

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal have what it takes to win the Premiership title.

After a dismal start to the new campaign, the Gunners finally got their first win at Old Trafford yesterday - with Emmanuel Adebayor's 85th-minute effort proving enough to secure a deserved success over Manchester United.

Despite the win, Arsenal still trail table-toppers Portsmouth by eight points - while, more importantly, the gap to United and champions Chelsea is just a single point less.

Wenger's side do have a game in hand, though - and with confidence inside the camp rising, the Frenchman is convinced it is not beyond the realms of possibility his side could mark their first season at the Emirates Stadium by re-capturing a crown they last won in 2004.

'We want to win the championship, and I believe we can,' said Wenger.

'Everybody has written us off already, and when we open some newspapers it seems as though we will be playing in Division One next season.

'But this is basically the same side that reached the Champions League final last season. It was not a coincidence that we beat Juventus and Real Madrid. We did it because we have quality.

'Now we have sent the right signals to everybody. We are ambitious to do well but we need more performances like that.'

Without injured strikers Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie, Wenger opted to flood the midfield and was rewarded by a dominant display in which Cesc Fabregas was outstanding.

Arsenal would have been in front during the opening period had captain Gilberto Silva not had his penalty saved by United debutant Tomasz Kuszczak.

The Polish goalkeeper also denied William Gallas and Tomas Rosicky with fine stops but could not prevent Adebayor slipping the ball under his body, after Fabregas had robbed Cristiano Ronaldo and found his team-mate with an inspired pass.

'I can keep telling the players they are great - but if the words are not backed up by points, it is bound to have a sub-conscious effect on the them,' said Wenger.

'I am not stupid enough to think nothing can happen to us.

'I have seen very good teams suddenly look average when doubt creeps in.

'Given those circumstances, and the authority with which we played, this has to be my best win over United at Old Trafford.'

Ferguson refused to condemn Ronaldo for losing possession, even though it cost United a draw - which would have been enough to send them back to the top of the Premiership.

'These things happen,' reflected the Scot.

'Cristiano always tries to beat men; that is what makes him such an exciting player and a threat to every defence in the country.

'He did lose the ball. but we didn't regroup quickly enough, and it cost us a goal.

In fact, Ronaldo was United's major attacking threat throughout - a fact noted by Ferguson who hauled Wayne Rooney off, to the clear displeasure of some home supporters, 13 minutes from time.

'The fans do not want to see their heroes coming off,' he said.

'But they have to remember Wayne has been out for a long time and he was playing his second big game in four days.'