By Chris Harris

Not for the first time the 'Big Four' are the Premier League's top four, but Arsène Wenger still expects the 'second tier' of the top flight to have a major say in the title race.

The Frenchman watched his team get their own title challenge back on track with a thrilling victory over Manchester United on Saturday. The result and performance repaired some of the damage done by the recent draw with Tottenham and a trio of defeats to Fulham, Hull City and Stoke.

Those losses were interpreted by some as a sign that Arsenal have got worse but Wenger has a different take. The Frenchman believes that standards have improved further down the Premier League and predicts a closer title race as a result.

"It could be tighter than everyone expected it to be," said Wenger.

"Nowadays, the teams in the second part of the league have improved and to go away and win at Stoke, Blackburn, Bolton and Wigan is difficult, more so than 10 years ago.

"I believe as well that to deal with the Champions League and all these games is very difficult."

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 10 Nov 2008