Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal can challenge for Premier League title

 

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have a chance of challenging for the Premier League title this season and knows next weekend's match at champions Manchester City will be a good measuring stick.

The Gunners have impressed in their four Premier League matches so far, having added a steely defensive edge to their attacking prowess.

Such performances have seen them move third in the table, but they face a tough trip to Roberto Mancini's City in the league next before welcoming Chelsea to the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger concedes Sunday's match at the Etihad Stadium will show their true worth, but is quietly confident with the way his side is performing.

"We will know that after 10 games," the Frenchman said of Arsenal's title chances. "I think we have a chance. But do we develop well, do we keep our attitude?

"I think we have a chance but at the moment I don't know how strong our opponents are. We've not played against any of the title contenders yet.

"We won the championship in 2004 and we played against Chelsea in November the following season and I finished the game thinking: 'We've just played against the new champions'.

"It will be important to see how we do against the bigger teams. It will be interesting.

"It will be a test next Sunday but for us the most important part will be to maintain our level of performance that we showed against Southampton and go from game to game."

It may be early in the campaign but Arsenal have already shaken off the 'one-man band' tag after last season was dominated by Robin van Persie.

The Holland striker was the heartbeat of the side last season up until his acrimonious summer departure to Manchester United and Wenger admits his side are now setting out differently.

"We are famous for having good passing and team play," he said.

"Sometimes an individual grows up and becomes the main charisma and carrier of the team and then people notice only him, but we've always built around the team player.

"Van Persie scored 30 goals and when you score 30 goals everyone gives you the ball. That's as simple as that.

"Our game at the moment is a little bit more diversified but let's see how we deal with that in the big games.

"We have to go from game to game. The last two games were interesting."

While Arsenal will be hoping to continue their fine start, Southampton's season starts now - certainly as far as manager Nigel Adkins is concerned.

Saints have attracted plaudits for their performances against the two Manchester sides, but the reality is they are bottom of the table without a point from the opening four games.

Aston Villa, another side expected to struggle this season, are up next and Adkins knows they need to get a point if not three on the board.

"I am used to winning," the Saints boss said. "I want to win all the time. I want to find a way.

"Sometimes you have to acknowledge you are playing against very, very good players but you still want to find a way to win."

PA

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