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Man Utd 12:45 Tottenham

Wenger hits back at Nani

Gunners boss also hopeful Vermaelen will be fit for January

Last Updated: 24/12/10 7:46am

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Arsene Wenger has sarcastically mocked Nani after the Manchester United winger dismissed Arsenal's Premier League title credentials.

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"I personally don't know who will win the league and I have managed 1600 games. If Nani knows he must be 1600 times more intelligent than I am."
Arsene Wenger Quotes of the week

The Gunners sit second in the table ahead of Monday's London derby with rivals Chelsea at Emirates Stadium and they have topped the division at times this season.

But Nani believes United, who lead Arsenal by two points with a game in hand, only need to worry about the challenge of defending champions Chelsea.

Gunners boss Wenger, a manager since beginning his career with Nancy in 1984, is not impressed by the Portugal international's comments and he has implied his side are more than capable of winning their first league title since 2004.

Shame

"Everybody has a different opinion in this league and nobody is perfect," the 61-year-old former Monaco and Grampus Eight chief told a press conference broadcast on Sky Sports News HD.

"We live in a society where everybody knows everything and it is a shame to say, 'I don't know'.

"I personally don't know who will win the league and I have managed 1600 games. If Nani knows he must be 1600 times more intelligent than I am."

Arsenal have infamously not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup and a young team have faced the usual accusations of naivety this season after already losing five league games and failing to live up to expectations on the big occasion.

Wenger has always defended his players and he thinks that an apparent inability to deal with pressure is a common trend in England's top flight in the 2010/11 campaign.

Hiccups

The Frenchman said: "We have seen recently that any team, when they think they are on the brink of breaking through, they have the hiccups.

"Maybe it is just the quality of the league?"

Arsenal have had to cope without key centre-back Thomas Vermaelen since September, when the Belgian sustained an Achilles injury on international duty.

But Wenger is optimistic the £10million arrival from Ajax in 2009 will be fit for the first team early in the New Year.

The Arsenal boss said: "He has been out for a long, long time. We are hopeful that he we will be back in January."

Wenger, though, has been boosted by the news that Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie are both available to make their first start together since August in the meeting with Chelsea.

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