Arsene Wenger Refuses to Write off Manchester United as Arsenal's Test Looms

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:  Manchester United Manager David Moyes reacts as Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 10, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger believes Manchester United cannot be dismissed from the Premier League title race, despite trailing his Arsenal side by a chasm of 12 points.

The French manager is refusing to get excited after United's 1-0 home defeat to Everton, reported by Laura Williamson of the Daily Mail:

It’s a surprising defeat but it’s still too early. We’ve seen that before - the 12 points are only on us. We have just to keep winning to have a chance and not worry too much about the others.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Santi Cazorla of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Hull City at Emirates Stadium on December 4, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Wenger's side maintained their four-point lead over Chelsea with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Hull. Goals from Nicklas Bendtner and Mesut Ozil wrapped up three valuable points before a huge week for the Gunners.

Arsenal host Everton in their next game, before travelling to Italy for an important Champions League showdown against Napoli on Dec. 11, who impressively overcame Lazio 4-2 in Rome during their last match.

A trip to face Manchester City at the Etihad looms on Dec. 14, which is then followed by Chelsea's visit to the Emirates on Dec. 23.

Wenger's squad will then travel to West Ham and Newcastle before the end of the year, suggesting the Premier League title picture will be a lot clearer when 2014 arrives.

The Arsenal boss, while conscious of not upsetting the authorities, has indicated there is little sense to his team's schedule:

It’s not unfair or fair – (there’s) just no co-ordination between the television choices. You could say we could have played on Saturday against Everton and Sunday or Monday against Man City.

It looks strange you play on Saturday morning and then 10 days later on Monday night against Chelsea.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  Manager Arsene Wenger of Arsenal looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal and Olympique de Marseille at Emirates Stadium on November 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Get
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal have shown little sign of decline this season and will be extremely disappointed they couldn't grab an Old Trafford win during November.

Had Robin van Persie's terrific header failed to hit the back of the net in United's last Premier League victory, Wenger's team would be 15 points clear of the champions and ready to brush their rivals aside.

Chelsea remain the North London club's most pressing concern, and should they replicate their recent 2-0 Capital One Cup win at the Emirates, Jose Mourinho's men will have Arsenal fans fearful of a collapse at the top.