Arsene Wenger says he is confident Arsenal can handle the pressure of being top of the table, and believes his men are well placed to end their Premier League title drought come the end of the season.
It has been 11 years since the Frenchman guided the Gunners to the prize, with the club faltering in their bid to claim silverware on numerous occasions since despite bright starts to those campaigns.
Arsenal will enter 2016 atop the Premier League for the fourth time in the last 11 years, but critics are doubtful over whether the Emirates Stadium side can sustain their challenge all term.
However, Wenger has hit back at such talk, citing the Invincibles of the triumphant 2003-04 season and saying his current crop can repeat the feats of that vintage year.
"Other people question our mentality, but I don’t. Only one team has won the league without losing a game and that is Arsenal," the 66-year-old told reporters.
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“I heard on TV that ‘nobody wants to win this league’. But that is thinking in cliches. Everybody wants to win it, but it is difficult.
“Statistics show in eight of the past 11 seasons, the team top on New Year’s Day won the title. Maybe on the occasions we were top in the past it was because other teams did not play at full power, and we did.
“We are only halfway through the season but I am confident we will fight to stay top. Of course we can handle the pressure and we have to show we can deal with it and be competitive.
“I believe we are mature enough and have the required quality to fight and compete. The most important thing is to feel at the end of the season that we have given absolutely everything to be successful.
“If, after that, somebody has been better than us we will accept it. But it is reassuring to know that if your performances are right you do not rely on bad results from somebody else."
Arsenal host struggling Newcastle United on January 2 looking to put some distance between themselves and second-placed Leicester City.