Arsenal will put their title credentials to the test this weekend when they take their five-point lead at the top of the English Premier League to champions Manchester United.
Arsene Wenger’s side followed up their win over third-placed Liverpool last weekend with a fine win away to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in midweek.
The Frenchman is delighted with the way his team are playing but knows they need to maintain momentum against a United side beginning to pick up after a poor start to the season.
“In every game you need to turn up with a top-level performance and that’s what we want to do on Sunday to have a chance to win,” Wenger said after the win in Germany.
“I just hope that it strengthens the belief of my team that we can put another great performance in.
“We have another massive game on Sunday, and we want that kind of performance again.” United are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions and striker Wayne Rooney believes they are capable of winning at Arsenal.
“We’ve done it many times in the past,” Rooney said. “They’re on a good run of form at the moment and are top of the league, so we know it’s going to be a difficult game.
“But we have to go into that game confident, believing we can edge closer to them and bring us back into the mix of being at the top of the league.” United made a stuttering start to the season under new manager David Moyes and are eighth, eight points off the pace, but Rooney said things are starting to come together.
“If we can get the victory on Sunday then we’re in a great position,” he said.
“We had a whole new set-up and different ideas from the manager.
It’s up to us to try and implement those ideas as best we can. It was a bit of a change but we’re starting to show the things that the manager wants.
“Eight matches unbeaten is a good run. We’re confident at the minute, we’re getting more clean sheets and we’re playing with a freedom, if you like. We’re just looking forward to every game now.” Chelsea and Liverpool will be hoping to close the gap to two points by winning home games against West Brom and Fulham respectively.
Chelsea will be without their former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres through injury but Liverpool are set to restore Philippe Coutinho to their starting line-up after a shoulder problem.
Tottenham will be hoping to continue their strong start to the season by seeing off an improving Newcastle side at White Hart Lane.
Bottom side Crystal Palace, still without a manager after the departure of Ian Holloway, face seventh-placed Everton while second-bottom Sunderland host fifth-placed Manchester City.
Third-bottom Norwich, under pressure after their 7-0 hammering by Manchester City last weekend, need points from their home match with West Ham.
Southampton, riding high in sixth, welcome Hull to St Mary’s Stadium while Aston Villa play Cardiff and Swansea City host Stoke City.