x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Wenger's surprise to be on top

Arsene Wenger believes the Premier League is the toughest it has ever been as he looks to keep Arsenal top of the table against title rivals Manchester United.

LONDON // Arsene Wenger believes the Premier League is the toughest it has ever been as he looks to keep Arsenal top of the table against title rivals Manchester United tonight.

A measure of that increased diffuculty is the fact that the Gunners have been beaten four times already, yet still returned to the summit last weekend after victory over Fulham when United's game at Blackpool was postponed and Chelsea dropped more points.

Wenger, the Arsenal manager, thinks that it is a case of top-flight teams improving their squads, rather than the leading sides dropping standards.

"I don't agree with the people who say that the overall quality of the league is lower this season. In fact, you can say exactly the reverse," the Arsenal manager said.

"Last Monday night, two quality teams - Aston Villa and Liverpool - met and both sides were in the bottom half, so that opinion is not really proven by concrete facts. The whole Premier League is more difficult for everybody and what you call mid-table teams and bottom-table teams have improved - every single game today is a cup game for everybody."

Wenger, though, is surprised Arsenal are still in such a strong position given the number of points they have dropped, losing three games at home.

"We are top of the table at the moment, and at the start of the season if you had said we would lose four of our first 16 games, I would not have thought we would be top, that is for sure," he said. "It means the other teams have lost games as well, apart from Manchester United, but they have had many draws.

"We have won five games away. The positive thing is that if we manage to add home consistency to our away form, we will be very dangerous."

* Press Association

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