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Nov 4, 2013

Wenger eager to avoid complacency

Arsene Wenger has admitted his surprise at Arsenal's Premier League run since the opening day defeat at Aston Villa, but continues to play down expectations of the Gunners' title challenge.

Saturday’s impressive 2-0 win against Liverpool banished the notion that Arsenal’s early season surge in form was aided by a relatively gentile set of fixtures, but Wenger is eager to avoid complacency.

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With tough away games against Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United on the horizon in the next few days, Wenger suggested his team have merely overcome the first hurdle of their season after picking up the pieces from a 3-1 humbling against Villa in August.

"After the Aston Villa game, if I had told you that [this would happen] I would have to run away because you would have killed me," Wenger told reporters. "It shows you that things can change quickly.

"Still, that should as well alert us that it can go the other way. We must keep good focus, continue to develop our team as there's room for improvement.

"At the moment, with 10 games played, you can say 25 per-cent of the season [has gone]. You see the first tendencies and trends but it's still not settled. By the end of November you will have a clearer idea."

Wenger has described his side's trip to face Dortmund as "huge" to the Gunners' Champions League ambitions, with the run of games they are about to embark on certain to test their trophy winning credentials.

"Its very, very important now to continue our run and respond well against Dortmund because everybody will look at that game," added Wenger.

"Dortmund is going to be a very different game to Liverpool, as they play a very different game. We have more belief and are starting to create a bit of fear in the opposition, and that gives us a better chance. When you are on a good run and the confidence level is high, it makes everything much easier.

"I didn’t think Dortmund were the better team when they won at the Emirates last time round. We conceded a goal when we were on top of the game and looking more likely to score a second to kill off the match.

"In Champions League games between the best teams, the number of even small chances are limited. It was our fault that we lost, but I think we showed we are the same level as Dortmund.

"We do not want to have to go to Napoli in the next game needing to win, but when we looked at the fixtures, when the draw was made, we knew it would be strange to be qualified by the last game because of the quality of teams in the group."

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, who sat out Saturday's game against Liverpool, looks set to miss the trip to Germany with a recurrence of his ankle injury, which Wenger admits is a cause for ongoing concern.

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