We can play well without Cesc or Flamini, declares bullish Rosicky

Last updated at 13:05 07 December 2007

Tomas Rosicky maintains Arsenal have the strength in depth to stay the course over the race for the Barclays Premier League title.

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The Gunners moved four points clear at the top of the table following their 1-1 draw at Newcastle on Wednesday night.

Arsene Wenger takes his men back to the north east on Sunday to face struggling Middlesbrough - where injured quartet Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Hleb and Robin van Persie are still not expected to feature.

However, despite fielding something of a makeshift stating XI at St James' Park, the Gunners took an early lead and then stood firm in the face of a second-half onslaught from the home side.

Czech midfielder Rosicky believes such resilience shows the Gunners have got what it takes to keep themselves in pole position.

"We were missing people like Fabregas and Flamini, but we can manage and we can still play well without them," he said.

"No-one believed us when we said we could win the Premier League, but we are a very good team and we don't care whether anyone believed us or not.

"We will be very happy if we stay in the position we are in now."

Veteran midfielder Gilberto made what was only his fourth Premier League start of the campaign at Newcastle.

The Brazil captain, 31, has been linked with a move away from Emirates Stadium during the transfer window, but is determined to make the most of whatever chances come his way.

"I am doing the best I can to get back in the team," Gilberto said. "I will see what happens, but of course I want to play in the first XI and I will do my best to achieve that."

The 2002 World Cup winner added: "A big squad is important. At the moment we have a few injuries, but we have other players who can do a great job.

Tomas Rosicky

"The manager needs to change the team in some positions but we keep the same spirit and the same way of playing."

Arsenal may now have a seven point cushion on fifth-placed Manchester City, but Wenger is taking nothing for granted despite the so-called 'Big Four' looking set to battle it out for the Premier League crown.

"It is not guaranteed for everybody," the Frenchman declared.

"Teams like Villa and Man City who are doing well, Everton and Portsmouth can fight to be in the top four too.

"It is becoming more and more interesting for the teams moving up."

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