Wayne Rooney Doubts Arsenal's Title Hopes Ahead of Manchester United Clash

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2013

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 05:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Manchester United at Estadio Anoeta on November 5, 2013 in San Sebastian, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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While Manchester United may be in eighth place and eight points behind their North London rivals, that doesn't stop Wayne Rooney feeling uneasy about Arsenal's chances of winning the Premier League.

Mesut Ozil's arrival, combined with the rise to prominence of Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey, has seen the Gunners shoot straight to the top of the English top flight, now boasting a five-point gap over Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United scores his third goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on August 28, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Pho
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However, according to Rooney, Arsene Wenger's side still have a long way to go. Speaking ahead of his side's weekend clash with the league leaders, the United striker says he's not so sure the Gunners can come out victorious when the trophies are handed out, per the South China Morning Post:

We’ll have to wait and see where they are in March. We’ve seen before that they’ve been in the top two until February, March time and then dropped off so it’s down to them to try and stay there.

They are doing brilliantly and are in a great position so it is down to us to match them.

We know we are playing better and are starting to do well. There are only 10 games gone so there is no big worry at the minute.

Rooney is right in his assessment of the league season still being young, but it's hard to deny that United aren't in a worrying state of their own compared to what they came to expect under previous management.

Losses to Liverpool, West Brom and Manchester City have left them way off the title pace, while their recent performances against Stoke and Real Sociedad have sparked more concern than cause for encouragement.

Arsenal have now gone without a trophy for eight years and are aiming to stop the torment of their critics by ending that streak this season, dropping just two points since their opening-day loss to Aston Villa.

One thing that Rooney can say his side have over their North London counterparts is reserves in attack, Giroud being the only experienced striker at Arsenal. The Frenchman's goals and hold-up play are crucial to Wenger's side, who only have Nicklas Bendtner in reserve.

It's a sentiment shared by Stan Collymore:

Fernando Llorente has been fiercely linked with a January loan to the Emirates, per the Jack De Menezes of the Independent, in order to give Giroud some relief up front, considering he's already started 15 games in England and Europe this season.  

Arsenal will surely need such an addition in the January transfer window if they are to last the pace, although the Gunners could justifiably argue that United need rather more than that to rescue their own campaign.