Arsene Wenger believes it is too early to write Manchester United out of the race for the Premier League title.
The champions slipped up at the weekend when Southampton came from behind to claim a point in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, leaving David Moyes’ side with just three wins from their opening eight league fixtures.
United trail leaders Arsenal by eight points -- and the champions are also just three points above the bottom three -- but Wenger, who has been in a similar situation to that facing Moyes, insists they are capable of fighting their way back into contention.
"It is too early. They are not out of the title race," Wenger said.
"We are only two points in front of all the others.
"Are Man United out of the title race? No, but of course 10 points starts to be a little gap."
Wenger continued: "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 (points advantage) is three games basically, that is very quick in our league."
Wenger also claimed that he will only add to his squad in the January transfer window if the opportunity presents itself, saying he already has a “massive squad”.
The purchase of Mesut Ozil to the Gunners’ squad during the summer has helped them to make a strong start to the Premier League campaign, but Wenger says it is not essential to add to the squad again.
"We have a squad that is very, very good in quality and in numbers," Wenger said. "If there is a good opportunity to make another signing in January, why not? But we are not desperate now.
"It’s important to remember who is out injured because when they all come back in November and the beginning of December, then we have a really massive squad."
Arsenal targeted a new striker during the summer with Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez linked to the club, but the form of Olivier Giroud has convinced Wenger that he is good enough to lead the line.
He said: "Maybe it was a bit of luck for Olivier that nobody came in. It meant he knew at the start of the season that he would get a chance to show just how good he is.
"And this season he has been amazing. His technical level has improved so much since he arrived here. Instead of always just thinking ‘I have to score’ he has become a real team player.
"I was always thinking that his second season with us would be the decisive one. We have seen that many times with many other players.
"To adapt to the kind of game we play takes time so I was not too worried when we didn’t bring in another striker because I knew it would give Olivier the chance to develop."