Arsene Wenger does not believe there will be a runaway Premier League winner this season, claiming it will be decided by the most consistent team in the next couple of months.
The Gunners have led the way for most of this campaign, regaining their lead at the summit of the table with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, and the Frenchman feels victories in these “battles” are vital in the hunt for silverware.
With Chelsea unexpectedly defeating Manchester City - who had overtaken Arsenal for a brief spell - on Monday night, Wenger reiterated his belief that no one team will breakaway from the chasing pack.
He told the club's official website: "It [the title race] is never as simple as everyone predicts it. I said a long time ago that nobody will be absolutely above [the others]. It will be down to consistency.
"Chelsea looked always dangerous and Man City looked for me a bit jaded. They were not as fluent or as strong physically as they were at Tottenham but it could have gone to 1-1, it could have gone 2-0 for Chelsea.
"At the moment this is the period, January, February, March, where every game is a battle for everybody because everybody fights for something. You just want to win the games."
The north Londoners have a testing couple of months ahead of them with games against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and trips to Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea as well as both Manchester clubs heading to the Emirates.
Yet victory over Palace saw the Gunners return to the top of the table and Wenger hailed his side’s patience as two second-half goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sealed three points.
"I feel we restricted them to very few chances," the Arsenal boss added. "I've seen them in some other games, in every single game they created good chances and we restricted them to very few.
"But the patience and the serene attitude we have shown, and the intelligence as well, got us through a difficult game.”
The Gunners face Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.