Arsène Wenger won’t take Hull City lightly on Saturday - because he "considers them a Premier League team".
Steve Bruce’s side were relegated from the top tier last season but come into the weekend’s FA Cup fifth-round fixture two points clear at the top of the Championship and with only one defeat in their last nine games.
Arsenal are also in good form, having lost just once in 10 matches, but Wenger insists his side will not underestimate Hull.
They are in a strong position in the Championship, but the level in the Championship has gone up tremendously
“They are in a strong position in the Championship, but the level in the Championship has gone up tremendously,” he said. “We saw it against Burnley, you need a top-level performance to beat these teams.
“They are very strong because they have been together for a long time. Let’s not forget, if you go through their team they have all played together in the Premier League.
“They are all Premier League players, even on the bench. I consider them a Premier League team.”
Arsenal are back in Champions League action on Tuesday when they host Barcelona, and Wenger is looking forward to a “very exciting” juncture of the season.
“It is a very exciting moment but also a very important one,” he added. “It is a real rest for the squad and for our potential to see how far we can go this season.
“I’m very confident but what matters is we respond on the day with a top-level performance.”