By Rob Kelly
Arsène Wenger believes that Newcastle’s excellent form this season is down to their “efficiency” in the transfer market.
Alan Pardew’s side have been this year’s surprise package and currently sit in sixth place in the table, five points behind the Gunners.
However, Wenger says that when you examine the Magpies’ squad it is clear why they are having such an impressive campaign.
“You could say that [I am surprised] if you look purely at the number of points they have. They were not expected there,” he told Arsenal Player.
“They have bought very well in a very efficient way. Some players have made a name now who were completely unknown at the start of the season.
“Therefore when you look at their quality it is not surprising they are where they are.”
Demba Ba has emerged as one of the best forwards in the Premier League this term, and Wenger admits that the Senegalese striker and compatriot Papiss Cisse were on his radar.
“We knew them of course but you know you only have the right to have 25 players in your squad in England,” he said. “You cannot go for all the players who are good that are on the market.
“Newcastle lost Andy Carroll last year and they were searching for a striker, so credit to them [for signing Ba and Cisse]. Also Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa are good business for them. That's why they are where they are.”
Despite Newcastle’s quality, Wenger is confident his side can continue their good run of form when they face them on Monday night.
“They are a team everyone knows will give you a big game, but what is important is our own performance,” he said.
“We cannot be obsessed by Newcastle. If we turn up with a good performance we will win the game. That is what is at stake: to keep up our run and keep our focus.”
Watch the full interview with the manager on Arsenal Player now.Copyright 2013 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 9 Mar 2012