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Title race is blown open

DON'T write off the Gunners. That's the message from Arsene Wenger after a night which saw Chelsea crash and burn at Goodison and the Premier League title chase thrown wide open.

Predictions that Carlo Ancelotti and Alex Ferguson would go head-to-head for the big prize can now be put to one side after the Gunners' 1-0 win over Liverpool closed the gap between first and third to just six points.

Manchester United inched closer to Chelsea with a 1-1 draw at Villa Park but it was Wenger who rightly took the most encouragement from the night's action.

"I believe we will fight until the last second of the season, and that's what we want to continue to do," said Wenger.

"We believe we have a chance and you could see again that Chelsea lost, Manchester United dropped points, so it is open for everybody."

Arsenal now have a title run-in packed solid with relegation fodder and mid-table strugglers. The highest placed club left on Wenger's fixture list is Spurs and it would not be too big a reach to suggest that the Gunners' could win every game between now and the end of the season.

While Arsenal were beating Liverpool, Alex Ferguson had to bite his nails for a long period of his team's tussle with Villa following a red card for form man Nani.

But his players escaped with a point and convinced Ferguson that their form is now good enough to maintain the pressure on Chelsea.

"We wanted to win the match, that's what this title is about. We're in good form. I think we've been very consistent tonight in terms of performance level. We never dropped and I think we can be very pleased with that."

Chelsea's inconsistency continued against Everton and Ancelotti's problems mounted with the news that he has decided to give John Terry time off. "He will not play this weekend. Carlo is giving him a bit of time off," confirmed assistant manager Ray Wilkins.

"He will come back and prepare for our game against Wolves on the 20th."