Campbell: Arsenal must respect title rivals Leicester

Arsenal attacker Joel Campbell believes Leicester City are genuine title contenders and feels they deserve to be respected.

Joel Campbell has warned Arsenal they cannot afford to underestimate Leicester City in the race for the Premier League title.

The Foxes, having been bottom this time last season, are surprisingly top after 17 games of 2015-16, two points clear of Arsenal.

Campbell, who helped the Gunners record an important 2-1 win at home to Manchester City on Monday, sees Claudio Ranieri's men as genuine title contenders.

"We are in the fight for the Premier League title. We hope to continue this winning streak," the Costa Rica international told the Arsenal website.

"We are closer to the leaders, who are currently Leicester, and we must respect them. They are a great team who have proved a lot this season. We go step-by-step.

"The Christmas period is going to be very competitive. There are four games in 10 days and after winning the first we hope to do the same in the coming three [against Southampton, Bournemouth and Newcastle]."

Goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud helped Arsenal to see off Manuel Pellegrini's City at the Emirates Stadium, with the North London team now four points clear of their third-placed rivals.

And Campbell was delighted with what he described as the home team's "intelligent" performance.

"It was a great game, we got a good result and now we have to look forward, there is still a lot of work to do.

"There are games that you have to be intelligent. We know the capacity of Manchester City. We could not give them space. We tried to close gaps and to counter-attack with our forwards. 

"City are a great opponent but we know that in this league you can lose at any stadium. It's a very competitive league. We did a great job to win against a great opponent. This is a big step."

Next up for Arsenal is a trip to Southampton on Saturday.