Arsene Wenger warned Manchester United that Arsenal are displaying potential title-winning form at home this season ahead of Tuesday night's clash at Highbury.
Arsenal have dropped just three points at home in the Premiership - losing to Chelsea - a record which is eclipsed by only Jose Mourinho's side with their 11 home league victories.
The only problem for the Gunners is that their away form is almost worthy of relegation candidates, with just eight points from 10 Premiership games.
The net result is that they are down in sixth place ahead of tonight's clash at Highbury, but Wenger was doing his utmost to talk up his team's fortunes to boost pre-match confidence levels.
'It's down to us. This team can make a quick step forward and we can make you all wrong. We have until May and I'm a great believer that there is a lot lot more to come from my team,' he declared.
'First of all, if we had the same form away from home as at Highbury, we would be fighting Chelsea for the title in a normal season.
'What we have to correct is our away form. We lost too many games because we were not concentrating enough defensively.
'People rule us out at the moment but it is down to us to prove them wrong. There is a big potential in the side and it will come out in 2006.
'It's down to how much we believe we will come back. In 1998, we were sixth or seventh at Christmas and we came back well, so don't rule us out too quickly.'
Arsenal have nevertheless won just two of their last six league games, having been over-run by Bolton, Newcastle and Chelsea, especially in midfield.
Gilberto could at least be ready to return after injury to strengthen the central midfield, even if Freddie Ljungberg and Robin van Persie are ruled out with a virus and knee problem respectively.
Wenger insists his team can match United physically, even if the departures of Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane may lead to a slightly less combative fixture.
'Maybe sometimes Keane and Vieira made it a little bit more physical because of their stature, but there is still a lot at stake and you expect an intense game,' he said.
While Wenger and Ferguson have clashed in the past with their verbal encounters, they now share one common problem - even if it has not brought them any closer.
Wenger concluded: 'At the moment, what we have in common is that we are chasing Chelsea, who are at a high pace.
'But I have no contact with any other manager in the league. Everyone focuses on his own job and there's nothing malicious in that.'