"At the moment, if I say to you we cannot do it then you would tell me I'm completely stupid.
“It will be down to consistency, getting the injured players back and then I believe we have a good chance.
"It's the most open season for a while. It's difficult to say and very early. I would like to give it ten to 12 games and then we will know more.”
It's the most open season for a while. It's difficult to say and very early. I would like to give it ten to 12 games and then we will know more.Arsène Wenger
That was Arsène Wenger talking on Friday about his side’s title chances this season.
“What’s important is that the level of expectation is high,” the manager went on. “In recent years, because we have lost players, we had to face a lower level of expectation.
“That is quite hard for me. It's more difficult to raise enthusiasm in the team because the belief is not completely there.
“But the fact that the level of expectation is high is a good sign because it means people think you have a good chance.”
After only five games the Premier League table is meaningless but it is still nice to be on top.
Leaders Arsenal go to Swansea on Saturday evening with the momentum of eight straight victories behind them, if you include the penalty shoot-out success at West Brom on Wednesday. In the Premier League, they are on a run of four wins and one more in Wales will equal a Club-record eight away from home.
The 2-0 success at Swansea on March 16 began the current tally. The trip was the first domestic game after a 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane had seemingly consigned Arsenal to fifth place. History will suggest the stunning win at Bayern three days earlier had revitalised Wenger’s men but they were made to wait until 16 minutes from time at the Liberty Stadium before Nacho Monreal bobbled home his first goal for the Club through a thicket of players in area. Gervinho sealed the points in the final minute.
By then Swansea were arguably on a downward spiral having already lifted the Capital One Cup, their first major English silverware.
They lost their grip on the trophy in midweek with a 3-1 defeat at Birmingham after fielding a much-changed side.
But, before that, September said seen them rattle up wins at Crystal Palace, Valencia and West Brom. They also drew 2-2 with Liverpool at home.
“Michael Laudrup has stabilised the club in the Premier League,” said Wenger. “I think at the start they had the technical level to cope with the demands anyway.
[The game last season] was a crucial one for us. We still have that memory in our mind because that was the start of our strong run.Arsène Wenger
“You can last one season on enthusiasm but, after that, you need to rely on real quality and that's what they had.
“But now they are a team where the level of expectation is higher than the year before. So, of course, everybody wants them to be performing in the top seven or eight. I think they have the quality to do that. Overall they buy well and they play attractive football. This is a very, very good team.”
The best purchase was undoubtedly Michu. The Spaniard was last season’s top-scorer and has three in his last three games this term. The biggest buy was Wilfred Bony, who joined from Vitesse for a reported £12m this summer.
“Michu’s still scoring goals because he has the technical qualities that are requested in the Premier League,” said Wenger. “It was not just sheer commitment and running. He's a real football player.
“Swansea can play with both [him and Bony] because Michu’s the kind of striker who is a midfielder as well. I see him a little bit, position-wise, like a Bergkamp, more than an up-front striker. He can play both positions, that's why they are 4-4-1-1 or you can call that a 4-4-2 when Bony plays.
"I remember the game last season," the manager added. "It was a crucial one for us. We still have that memory in our mind because that was the start of our strong run.
"That was a very difficult victory. This time we prepare ourselves with a very focused attitude because we know this is a very important game for us.
"We know that on Saturday, once again, we will face a team with quality."
Arsenal: Rosicky (hamstring), Sanogo (back), Cazorla (ankle), Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Podolski (hamstring), Walcott (abdomen), Diaby (knee)
Swansea: Williams (doubt - ankle), Hernandez (hamstring)Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source