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BUY, BUY ARSENE; Petit: Spend in January and Arsenal can win title... but they can't afford to qualify for Europa; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: STEVE STAMMERS

EMMANUEL PETIT believes Arsenal's Premier League title dreams will survive the humiliation of Munich.

A 5-1 defeat to mighty Bayern on Wednesday night has all but ended the Champions League hopes.

Petit - a World Cup winner with France and a key man in the Arsenal team that secured the League and FA Cup double in 1998 - labelled the loss in the Allianz Arena as a "slap in the face" for Arsene Wenger's men.

And he has urged Wenger to use the winter transfer window to bring in an experienced and established central defender after Gabriel's (right) lack of experience was cruelly exposed in Munich.

Wenger is not a fan of the January market, but Petit said: "You never know. Sometimes clubs are having not such a good season and need the money. "Others may have players whose contracts run out at the end of the season and January is the last time they can get a transfer fee for them."

What Petit wants now is for Arsenal to show the same response as they have after other setbacks this season.

"They lost to West Ham and came back. They lost to Chelsea and came back. They lost to Olympiakos and came back. Now they have to do the same again."

To replicate that kind of reaction, Arsenal must overcome Spurs in what is always a bitterly contested North London derby.

But Petit said: "For me, this is the perfect match to have after Munich. It will be a passionate atmosphere and the chance for Arsenal to come back in front of their own fans.

"Yes, they can still win the title. They have the same players who took them so high in the table."

Arsenal are currently bottom of their Champions League group - and Petit hopes they stay there if they fail to make the top two and qualify for the knock-out stages.

"What they don't want is to finish third and go in the Europa League," said Petit.

"There is so much travel in that competition and Thursday night football. If they go out of the Champions League, better to finish last in the group. Then they can concentrate on the Premier League - which I believe they can still go on and win. "

And, ahead of the clash with Spurs, he said: "I think Arsenal can do it. I thought, before the start of the season, they had the players and they are playing with real consistency.

"Yes, it is still early in the season. I realise that. But you look at two things - they recovered from a bad start when they lost at home to West Ham. That proved they can respond.

"And they have also had to deal with a lot of injuries.

"They have been without Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and now Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"But still they keep winning.

Sometimes they are playing wonderful football, like they did against Manchester United.

"Sometimes, they have to settle for 1-0. But they are getting results and that is the important thing if you're going for the title.

"What I like is the way they play with such freedom at times. You can see the enjoyment."

Petit (above) was delighted when Wenger bought Petr Cech in the summer.

"That was a great signing. He has such great experience and that has been a big asset to the team. He gives them more insurance.

"Apart from central defence, Arsenal have cover in all other areas. There has been no Wilshere and now no Aaron Ramsey, but still they have proven quality.

"Santi Cazorla has been outstanding and Mesut Ozil is a class player. Francis Coquelin does his job really well.

" No Walcott at the moment but look at the way Olivier Giroud is scoring goals. And then there is Alexis Sanchez. He is a magnificent player.

"He has ability, great ability, but he also a fighter. He competes for everything. But Arsene must be careful with him. Sanchez is the sort of player who wants to play every game. He has fantastic spirit.

Historically, Arsenal find November a difficult month - not a great omen going into today's clash with Spurs.

"But it also a hard month for Tottenham," added Petit.

"They have a European match after Sunday and two more derbies against West Ham and Chelsea.

"It will not be an easy month for them."

CAPTION(S):

WINTER WARNER: Arsene Wenger has been advised by Double-winner Petit that it would be wise to spend cash on a new central defender
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Nov 8, 2015
Words:756
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