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By ESPN Staff
Sep 15, 2006

Wenger throws down gauntlet to United

Arsene Wenger believes Manchester United should not get carried away with their flying start to the season and warned them his Arsenal side are ready to end their winning run.

Wenger is preparing the Gunners for Sunday's trip to Old Trafford in what in the past has been a top-of-the-table clash.

And while Arsenal's winless start to the Premiership season makes a mockery of that tag, the match is crucial, with both sides desperate for the three points.

United have enjoyed their best opening to a league campaign for 21 years, but Wenger insists it is too soon to tell whether they will maintain such a rich vein of form.

'It's too early for me to say they will be the favourites for the championship,' Wenger told Arsenal TV Online. 'The only thing you could say is they have a good team, they've had a good start and those are always good ingredients to have a good season.

'But after four games it is too early. You need eight to 10 games to see what is the real strength of the team.'

Wenger would make the same assertion about his own side's form, which has seen them take just two points from their first three matches - the Frenchman's worst start in almost 10 years in charge.

But his side do travel to Old Trafford with a win under their belt after overcoming 10-man Hamburg in Wednesday night's Champions League Group G opener.

'We had certainly a good start in what is a difficult group for us,' Wenger said.

'It's good to put ourselves in a good position, especially with the draw in the other game.

'For the team, as well, especially for the morale of the team, it's important to show you can win a game.'

Lose on Sunday though, and they will be 13 points behind their opponents, an almost insurmountable margin even at this early stage of the season.

Wenger was philosophical about the prospect of defeat and would rather contemplate the opposite outcome.

'If you lose, you are always three points further behind than you were before the game,' he said.

'Don't forget as well that we have a game in hand.

'We do not go there to lose, we go there to win, and I am confident we have a good chance to do it.

'Let's focus on us and play at our best level and continue to do what we do and try to improve our defensive record. Then we have a good chance against Man Utd.'

Wenger accepts that part of Arsenal's problem collecting points has been their inability to overwhelm the blanket defences they have faced so far this season.

'The teams that played against us so far in the championship refused to play and we made it even more difficult for ourselves by being 1-0 down,' he said.

'Then we need to be not only sharper and better but also a bit lucky. I feel it will come anyway and there is so much quality in our side, they will make the difference.'