Wenger admits Arsenal face struggle to catch top three

Arsene Wenger has admitted that his Arsenal side currently lack the necessary quality to challenge the Premier League’s top three of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City.

The Gunners began the season relatively well but have stuttered in recent weeks and their 2-1 defeat at Manchester United on Saturday, at the hands of former player and captain Robin van Persie, has left them nine points behind the league leaders after only 10 games played, a gap that according to the Daily Mirror, Wenger believes will be tough to make up.

We’re very far behind now,” said Wenger. “At the moment you cannot say that [we are good enough to challenge the top three], because we are far away. But that’s what we have to show and that’s what the target is at the end of the season.” Wenger’s defence came under criticism at Old Trafford, particularly captain Thomas Vermaelen, who’s third-minute miscued clearance fell straight into the path of van Persie to score, and Brazilian Andre Santos who endured a torrid 90 minutes at left-back up against Antonio Valencia.

We were poor defensively here,” Wenger continued. “There’s no obvious reason for that, apart from the fact we didn’t start well and United have quality up front. They score goals against everybody and they are better than us. Here, I just think we were not on full cylinders and looked much more vulnerable defensively than we did at the start of the season.

Wenger’s men next take on Schalke in their fourth group match of the Champions League, looking to avenge their 2-0 home defeat at the hands of the Germans in their previous clash and all-but ensure qualification for the next stage of the competition.

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