Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes his team have been "handicapped" by their fixture programme in the Barclays Premier League this season.
United have had an away match after each of their European clashes so far and Ferguson's side will be on their travels again after their remaining Champions League group games against Villarreal and Aalborg.
"They say the league's not handicapped but it is handicapped," Ferguson told Sky Sports News. "Every game after a European tie is away from home."
He added: "We've got the top 10 teams from last year's league all away from home in the first half of the season.
"So you can see it's been a big challenge to us. But hopefully, if we can get in among the top ones come the turn of the year, we'll have a big chance next year."
Ferguson's players created enough chances to beat Arsenal, but Samir Nasri's double proved decisive on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium.
The United boss was impressed and took some heart from his team's display.
"It's a consolation in one way but it doesn't put bread on the table for you, it doesn't get points in the bag for you," he said. "It was a disappointing day for us."
United's failure to take their chances was clearly frustrating for the long-serving Scot.
"The consolation you take out of it is we played some fantastic football," he said. "And I think we made the best chances of the match and we could have scored four, five, maybe six goals. But you have to take those ones early and that's what cost us the game."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.