Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the victory over Manchester City can lay the foundations for a Premier League title tilt in 2016. Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud's goals helped put the Gunners within two points of leaders Leicester City and saw them installed as the bookmakers' favourites for the title as the season reaches the gruelling festive period.
Victory over City assured the north London club will finish 2015 with the most amount of points claimed in the Premier League during the last calendar year. But Wenger is keen to play down the significance of the feat ahead of games against Southampton, AFC Bournemouth and Newcastle United.
"It was an important win for us," the Arsenal manager told a pre-match press conference, according to The Mirror. "What came out of the game is that we had a real strong team attitude and strong team effort. We got a positive result against a very strong team who will fight for the championship. We have been top of the league many years. Football is pragmatic and no one can predict what will happen.
"We lost our first game at West Ham so we weren't sure we'd be here at Christmas. Football is pragmatic; no one can predict what will happen in the next 17 games for example. We go with the same attitude and spirit. If you look back at 2015, we have been consistent overall and have had quite a positive record. Stabilised our defensive record and improved against strong teams. We're going the right way.
Wenger revealed after the game against City that Alexis Sanchez's hamstring injury would keep him out until the new year and the Frenchman had now admitted none of his injured players are expected to resume their seasons in the coming days, ahead of the trip to Southampton. Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla are all on the Arsenal treatment table but their comebacks are not imminent.
"We have nobody back for this game," admitted Wenger, who also ignored questions regarding new contracts for Mesut Ozil and Sanchez. "We will be approximately with the same players."