By Nick Teale
Arsène Wenger wants Manchester United to be as strong as possible - so that Arsenal can be "the best within the best".
Sir Alex Ferguson's side won their third consecutive Premier League title last season, becoming the first team to achieve the feat twice.
This term the Red Devils are in the thick of the title race again, along with Arsenal and Chelsea. However, financial concerns and fan protests against the Glazer family, who own the club, have attracted as much attention in recent weeks as performances on the pitch.
United manager Ferguson was recently quoted as saying: "I can see our opponents rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of us falling out among ourselves." However Wenger doesn’t see it that way.
"We are in a world of competition," said the Frenchman. "You fool yourself if you think you can be the best by hoping the others are mediocre.
"You want to be the best within the best. It would be a wrong process of thinking for us.
"If Manchester United go down we will be fooling ourselves to think that they can go back the other way and just us go well.
"We have to be the best within the best and be ready for the competition at the top level."
But the Arsenal manager does not believe United's financial problems will cause them to slide down the Premier League, because they are too big a club for that to happen.
"I don’t speculate on any weakness or future weakness of Man United," said Wenger. "They are too big an institution; even if they have financial problems somebody big will come in and buy Man United."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 30 Jan 2010