Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is refusing to consider Arsenal as favourites for the Premier league title despite the Gunners having a four-point lead at the summit heading into the festive period.
The Blues boss instead believes Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City, who have a 100% home record but are behind the London duo, are the leading contenders this term.
With trips to Sunderland and Stoke City to come over the next four days, Chelsea have the opportunity to cut the gap to Arsenal, but Mourinho doesn't perceive the club to be the main contenders in the six-team title race.
"We cannot talk about favourites," Mourinho said. "All the six teams are titles contenders but I keep saying that the team with the more responsibility to win. But, because the squad is unique, is Man City.
"This week they will be looking to open the gap to us because it looks like the six points will be easier to get than for us.
"We play Sunderland and Stoke and team that are better than the number of points they have for sure and they will be hard. I think we have two very difficult matches."
Despite winning 10 of their 13 league games, questions remain over Arsenal's ability to replicate their superb form at the start of the season through the campaign remain.
Aaron Ramsey's stunning form, the signing of Mesut Ozil the Olivier Giroud's powers of recovery are spearheading Arsenal's assault on the title but the festive period if likely to represent the greatest barometer so far of their durability.
For the west Londoners meanwhile, Samuel Eto'o has returned to training after a thigh injury and is available for the trip to Sunderland but both David Luiz and Oscar are out of the visit to the Stadium of Light.
Mourinho has also revealed that Chelsea have no plans to delve into the January transfer market in the New Year. Having confirmed last week that the club had no plans to add to their strikers, the Portuguese boss has confirmed no additional players will be sought.
Having spent £63m on seven players during the summer, it comes as no surprise that Chelsea will resist from adding to their squad, particularly with Marco van Ginkel the only long-term injury absentee and the January window traditionally presenting little value.