Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino says Arsenal are a top team, and he thinks it’s too early to rule the Gunners out of the title race just yet.
Pellegrino was speaking ahead of Arsenal’s game against Southampton at the weekend, and was asked by reporters whether his side’s opponents had any chance of a first Premier League title since 2004. He responded (via Sky Sports): “We are more or less in the middle of the season and it is really early to make comments or draw conclusions.
“The last third of the season is the most important part. Arsenal have to have this race at the end with good performances. They are a really strong side. They’re not in the Champions League this year but most of the time they are in Europe and are always fighting for the top four.
“They’ve bought important players and I think they are a really good team – they are a really difficult team to beat. They are a top team.”
As things stand, Arsenal are 15 points off leaders Manchester City, and City have only dropped two points since the start of the season.
At that rate, the Gunners couldn’t catch them even if Wenger’s side won every game from now until May. However, you’d expect City to have a bad run at some point.
Right now, it’s hard to see Arsenal catching and overtaking City, United, Chelsea, and Liverpool.
It’s enough to ask for the Gunners to outperform one or two of them to qualify for the Champions League, but all four of them is a massive challenge from this far behind.
But there is still time, and you never know what might happen if City do lose a game or two before New Year.
Pellegrino is also right to highlight Arsenal’s good summer signings, as Lacazette and Kolašinac have both proved themselves to be very useful acquisitions so far, and have contributed to a large portion of the goals.