Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes that the current state of competition in the Premier League is down to the fact that the quality of the whole league has risen by leaps and bounds.

The Gunners suffered their second defeat in the league this season against Manchester United at Old Trafford, bringing an end to a brilliant nine game unbeaten run. Their record away from home was more impressive, winning 14 and drawing one of their last 15 games before the result. Meanwhile, the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham have faltered in recent weeks, with the trio dropping points against Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle.

Arsenal are still top of the group in spite of the defeat and will host Southampton when the players return from international duty after a couple of weeks. Wenger believes that Southampton are the most improved of the sides competing this season, which is evident given that they are currently third in the table and are looking good to stage a top four fight.

"I don't know because you have for example a team like Southampton who is close to the top but they have three international players in the England squad. They have Luke Shaw is not far, they have they say [Nathaniel] Clyne is not far. That means maybe the whole Premier League has gone up. I don't think necessarily players like [Robin] Van Persie are not as good as last season or two seasons ago. It's just the whole quality has gone up," Wenger told

Wenger is also sceptical about the international break that breaks their flow and hopes that there are no injuries to his players. The Gunners are missing a lot of key personell through injury and any setback may be a telling blow to their chances of challenging for the league title.

"The international break is not welcome because when you lose a game like that you want to play straight away again. We have some players who go to play massive games, under massive pressure and will not come back after the break refreshed - they come back maybe exhausted because France plays against Ukraine - we have a few French players. All the other countries it's a bit better," he added.