LONDON - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is convinced that his players remain on course in their Premier League title challenge despite having picked up just two points from their last three games.
Wenger's side will make the short trip across London to West Ham United on Thursday having drawn at home with Everton and Chelsea either side of a 6-3 thrashing at Manchester City.
Arsenal had been seven points clear at the end of November, but now find themselves behind leaders Liverpool - who visit City in Thursday's late game - on goal difference.
Wenger's men struggled to create chances against Chelsea in Monday's 0-0 draw, but Wenger insists that the Gunners' prospects are far healthier than they had appeared at the start of the season, when they lost 3-1 at home to Aston Villa.
"The spirit of the players is unbelievably focused and there is a great desire," he said.
"We are going through a period where it is a bit more difficult, but with that spirit we will come out of that.
"Let's be serious - after the first game, against Aston Villa, if I'd have told you we would be top of the league, you would have said I was absolutely mad, so let's not go completely overboard.
"We are where we are. The last three games have been difficult, but we have played Everton, we have played Man City and we have played Chelsea."
West Ham are struggling to stay out of the relegation places, but Wenger is nonetheless expecting a testing 90 minutes.
"In the Premier League we have have learnt that it is difficult everywhere," he said.