Robin Van Persie believes Arsenal still have a realistic chance of winning the Barclays Premier League title this year, but remains acutely aware that there is a long way to go before the trophies are handed out.
The Gunners captain has been a galvanising force for Arsene Wenger's side this season, assisting the club's resurgence by chipping in with his 15th goal of the campaign, to secure three more points against Everton last weekend.
Van Persie says he and his teammates have loftier ambitions than a top-four finish this campaign - but he wants them put on ice for now, as attention quickly turns to today's clash with league leaders Manchester City.
"We should have higher expectations every week, but for now because we have only played 15 games in the league we are not even halfway," the Dutchman told Arsenal Player. "I don't think it's clever to be excited by fourth, fifth, sixth or whatever. This is not now, we still have to play many games.
"So many things can happen - you see that Spurs lost three points last week, Chelsea beat Man City. It's an open league and anything can happen. Lots of stuff will happen that is surprising so we have to make sure that we are on the good side and actually surprise people with our results."
Manchester City surrendered their unbeaten league record after they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening, and Roberto Mancini's men will be looking to bounce back against the Gunners.
Van Persie is anticipating a difficult test at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon, but insists the players will take confidence from their recent run of good form.
"We had a tough start in the first couple of weeks, it wasn't an easy summer with Cesc and Samir [leaving]," he added. "It was always hard because nobody really knew what the team would be for the season.
"We made a couple of late signings that we had to make, because we were losing a couple of world-class players.
"After that game against Manchester United, we did come back strong. Everybody had written us off to come back from something like that and weren't speaking positively about us.
"To bounce back from a period like that you can say that everybody earns some credit because we had to dig deep, trust me."
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