By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes that a lack of defensive solidity has stopped Arsenal from matching Manchester United this season.

The Frenchman takes his side to Old Trafford on Saturday knowing that anything less than a win will make Arsenal the reluctant guests at United’s third consecutive title party.

Wenger’s side will definitely finish fourth and are 18 points worse off than the champions ahead of this weekend’s game. Having crunched the numbers, the Arsenal manager has pinpointed where his team has fallen short.

“I feel the 18-point gap is a reflection we have to take on the chin," said Wenger at his pre-match press conference.

"What people forget is that we were very far behind and we dropped too many points. Man United are world champions, European champions and will be champions of England. Everybody has to cope with that, not accept it and come back next year and beat them.

"We have a very promising team who can deliver very soon. If you look at the statistics of the two teams for example, we have scored a similar amount of goals. In the passing quality in the final third and in the opposition half, we are as good as Man United. We have conceded more goals and that's where the difference lies.

"We have conceded 36, they have conceded 24, we have scored 64 they have scored 67. Offensively, I do not believe there is a difference. Defensively, there was a difference.”

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14 May 2009