Mikel Arteta believes Manchester United are still the team to beat if Arsenal want to win the Premier League this season.

The Red Devils suffered a difficult start to the campaign with defeats to Liverpool, Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion in the league, but they are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions.

And Arteta thinks the champions remain genuine contenders for the title despite the departure of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

I think he needs only credit for that because his attitude with the players, the way he behaves with the players and the character he's got helps a lot

Mikel Arteta

"I am expecting them to be there because with the quality they have," said Arteta. "When you look at the squad, the players, the quality they have and experience as well. If you mixed that all together then obviously it becomes something good so I will be surprised if they're not.

"He [new manager David Moyes] is a big winner and for sure they are looking much better now. They won a few games in a row and it will be tough to win there.

"It's another massive one and we had a few in the last few days. We will just get back and get ready physically for the next step because as you know it will be really hard against Man United."

Arteta spent six years under Moyes' stewardship at Everton and says he wasn't surprised when United came calling for him after Ferguson announced his retirement in May.

"We knew that over the years there has been a lot of talk about him moving there so every year we were expecting him to go somewhere big. I wasn't surprised at all," said Arteta.

"I think he needs only credit for that because his attitude with the players, the way he behaves with the players and the character he's got helps a lot."

Copyright 2014 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 Isaac Moore 9 Nov 2013