Arsene Wenger: Ten points a gap but United are not out of title race

Arsenal manager refuses to eliminate Manchester United from contention despite their dubious start.

Fixtures in an international calendar can often halt momentum accrued by club sides during the match, or games, that preceded it.

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For Arsenal, the club shared top-spot in the Premier League, were building a reputation as reliable goal-scorers regardless of the score-line but, crucially, had banished the opening day humiliation, losing 3-1 to Aston Villa, to distant memory as they racked up the wins, drawing to West Bromwich Albion immediately before their international-calibre players linked up with their respective squads for World Cup qualifiers and friendlies.

Manchester United, meanwhile, had suffered a stuttering of form, however, an October 5 victory over Sunderland with a breakout performance from Adnan Januzaj, suggested that they were ready to string the wins together once club football resumed.

While Arsenal were able to push on from where they were last, defeating Norwich City by four goals to one in what was a scintillating performance of one-touch movement with incredible footwork and skills, United laboured to a 1-1 draw with Southampton.

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The Gunners, with 59 points for 2013 and 18 victories, are now the most consistent of all Premier League participants. They are also on the longest run of scoring in consecutive matches (13). The struggles of United are highlighted in the statistics… United have now played consecutive home games without a triumph for the first time in over six years (May/August 2007) and have won a paltry three of their last eight home games in Premier League competition.

Despite this, Wenger refuses to consider David Moyes' side anything but challengers for the title: 'It is too early,' said the Arsenal manager, as quoted by Daily Mail.

'[United] are not out of the title race. We are only two points in front of all the others [Chelsea and Liverpool]. Are Man United out of the title race? No, but of course… ten points starts to be a little gap.

'If you have the choice, you want to be in the race at the top, but you cannot rule Man United out today. They have big players, big experience and they are a big club. It [the points difference] is three games basically, that is very quick in our league.'

Arsenal have a chance to widen their superiority at the summit of the division on Saturday, as their away tie with Crystal Palace kicks off at 12:45 local time. United, meanwhile, entertain Stoke City.

images: © Ronnie Macdonald, © Ronnie Macdonald

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