Arsenal captain William Gallas is demanding his players stay strong in their title race.

"The fact we are still top sends a message that we are strong, but we know that Manchester United and also Chelsea are still there also," said the France defender.

"It will be close all season, but we must realise everything is in our hands."

Gallas added: "I hope to be back in the team for the Birmingham game, and I think that we will be really fresh for that, having missed the last couple of games.

"We still have a long way to go this season and I am sure everybody will be ready for it, because we have to be."