Roberto Mancini believes Manchester City still have some way to go before they can stand shoulder to shoulder with Arsenal.
The pair square up at Eastlands on Sunday with City knowing victory would put them six points clear of the north London outfit - and confirm them as real challengers to champions Chelsea.
"I don't know whether we can say we will be challengers for the title just because we win this match," said Mancini. "Arsenal are one of the best teams in Europe. They have played together for many years. We have only started this year. That is the difference."
Nevertheless, City are catching up fast.
Emmanuel Adebayor's Europa League hat-trick against Lech Poznan on Thursday has put the striker in line to face his former club.
Skipper Carlos Tevez will also expect to be handed a striking berth, while £23million signing Mario Balotelli is likely to be on the bench after recovering from the knee injury he suffered on his debut in Timisoara two months ago.
"We have a good team but, if we want to be better than Arsenal, we need to improve more," said Mancini.
"This game is a chance to show that. But we must work hard, as they have done for so many years.
"I feel good about things. I know my squad is good.
"But we are at the start of the season, and it is too early to make judgments."
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