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Ox happy to be underdogs

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has admitted that Arsenal are happy to be regarded as underdogs in the Premier League title race.

Despite leading the league for much of the season, the Gunners are third favourites behind Manchester City and Chelsea to be crowned champions in May.

Arsene Wenger's side currently hold a one-point lead over City, with Chelsea just a point further back, with England international Oxlade-Chamberlain eager to prove their critics wrong and end a nine-year wait for silverware.

"When people are doubting you or saying you're not capable of doing something, it gives you that motivation to prove them wrong," Oxlade-Chamberlain told the club's official website.

"At the same time, when you aren't favourites you can go about your work quietly - and the most important thing is that we know what we need to do to finish where we want to finish. That's the only thing that matters.

"The manager, the coaching staff and as a group of players, we all know what needs to be done - to keep winning games consistently.

"As long as we keep that togetherness and that belief in ourselves, it is up to us how well we do this year."

With the top three tightly bunched, five further teams battling for fourth and a mere six points between Aston Villa in 10th and bottom club Cardiff City, Oxlade-Chamberlain is well aware of the competitive nature of the Premier League.

He added: "This year it does seem to be really tight, especially the top half of the table. There's no real differentiation between the top four and the other teams.

"There is so much quality high up the league and everyone is winning when everyone else is, and at the times when teams drop points, so does everyone else.

"That is credit to the clubs that find themselves in the bottom half, because they are of high quality as well. It is a really tough year and you can't see who is going to do well in terms of winning the league or who is going to go down. That is what makes it so exciting."