Wenger not panicking

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Wenger's men head to Newcastle on Saturday looking to win for just the second time in their first four Premier League matches.

A goalless draw against Liverpool on Monday left the north Londoners already lagging five points behind leaders Manchester City after a worrying repeat of the slow opening that eventually doomed their title challenge last season.

Wenger acknowledged his players aren't at their best yet, but he cautioned against writing them off too soon.

“We have not had the ideal start and we are conscious of that but we want to play 60 games in the season,” Wenger said.

“We have played three games now and we have lost one that we should not have lost, but we have to be conscious that the season is not decided yet.

“Maybe we are not firing on all cylinders at the moment. Not everybody is ready physically. Certainly at the moment we want it so much at home that we're trying to force it a little bit.”

Meanwhile, City winger Jesus Navas has warned the Premier League pace-setters not to get complacent after their blistering start.

Manuel Pellegrini's side have reeled off three wins from their opening three matches and the swaggering manner of their performances suggests City are back to their best after tamely surrendering the title to Chelsea last season.

With Raheem Sterling bedding in nicely after his move from Liverpool and a big-money deal for Wolfsburg's Belgium playmaker Kevin de Bruyne reportedly close to completion, City are assembling an awesome array of attacking talent that could leave the rest of the top tier trailing in their wake.

The leaders are firm favourites to maintain their flying start when they host promoted Watford on Saturday, but Spain international Navas is well aware of the dangers of underestimating a team who have drawn all three of their league matches so far.

“It is not only that we have won these three games, it is that we didn't concede any goals and we created a lot of chances. We are really happy,” Navas said.

“But we need to keep the same attitude, working really well defensively and also creating a lot of chances. That is the way to win more games this season.”

Like City, Liverpool, who host West Ham on Saturday, were disappointing last season as they followed a second place finish in 2013-14 by slipping down to sixth.

But, while City have recaptured the enterprising style that made them champions two years ago, Liverpool have focused on solidifying a defence that proved so porous over the last 12 months.

The early signs are promising for boss Brendan Rodgers as new full-backs Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez have helped third placed Liverpool keep three consecutive clean-sheets and take seven points from a possible nine.

“For two guys that have just arrived at the club, where the expectation level will be way above what they've experienced before, they already look as though they've been here a long, long time,” Liverpool assistant coach Gary McAllister said.

Buoyed by Wayne Rooney's return to form with a hat-trick in their midweek Champions League play-off round demolition of Club Brugge, fourth placed Manchester United can focus on the title race now their European progress is assured.

United, unbeaten in the league so far, will need Rooney at his best if they are to mount a sustained title challenge, so it was a major boost to see the England striker end his 878-minute scoring drought ahead of Sunday's trip to Swansea.

“I wasn't worried, if it was going on for three, four, five games more then maybe so but it's early days and I knew when the chances came I'd take them,” Rooney said.

With one win from their first three games, Chelsea find themselves in the unfamiliar position of languishing in mid-table, well below Saturday's opponents Crystal Palace, who visit Stamford Bridge in fifth place.

But spirits have soared at the Bridge following the impressive debut display of Pedro Rodriguez, who marked his arrival from Barcelona by scoring one and setting up another in Chelsea's maiden victory of the season at West Bromwich Albion.

Fixtures:

Saturday

Aston Villa v Sunderland, Bournemouth v Leicester, Chelsea v Crystal Palace, Liverpool v West Ham, Manchester City v Watford, Newcastle v Arsenal, Stoke v West Brom, Tottenham v Everton

Sunday

Southampton v Norwich, Swansea v Manchester United – AFP

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