Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger maintains tomorrow's Premier League clash with Manchester City at Emirates Stadium is an all or nothing showdown for both clubs. The Gunners host the defending champions needing a victory to close back within striking distance of the top four.
City, meanwhile, cannot afford another poor showing at Emirates Stadium - where they have never won in the Premier League - if they are to hang onto the coattails of Manchester United, who host Liverpool in tomorrow's lunchtime kick-off. Wenger admits anything other than a maximum-points haul will do either side's ambitions little good.
"I think they are in a situation where a draw will not be good enough, and we are in the same situation," said the Arsenal manager. "The fact that both teams have to absolutely go for a win promises a more open game. When you are in that (title) situation, you don't want to drop more points because it can be damaging for your chances."
Wenger added: "It (the championship) is still very open. When you watch the games, no team today goes into a Premier League game and is sure to win it, therefore I believe every team can drop points. It is much more open than people think it is."
Talk of a sustained title challenge from the Gunners may be pure fantasy once again following too many inconsistent performances, but Wenger knows his men cannot afford to start a run of potential season-defining fixtures with anything other than the required performance against the champions tomorrow.
"At the moment we are still trying to shorten the distance between us and the top," said Wenger. "The players are ambitious. This group has a fantastic attitude. They were not always playing in a positive environment, so it was not easy for them, but I could not for one day fault their concentration and focus to do well. I want this group to be rewarded and hope we can show that in the coming months."