LONDON • Twenty months after they last topped the Premier League table, Arsenal found themselves at the summit again on Saturday following their 2-1 victory over Everton.
While Manchester City displaced them with a 0-0 draw against Manchester United yesterday, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that his team have surpassed his expectations after 10 league games.
The Frenchman went as far as to say that no one would have predicted their position after their defeat by West Ham at the Emirates Stadium on the opening day of the season.
"I thought after 10 games, no, honestly (we wouldn't be top). I thought it would take much longer because Manchester City started with five wins so it was difficult to envisage that we would come back but we had no choice," Wenger said, after Arsenal took their points haul to 22.
"Last season after 10 games there was a big difference between the top teams and us - today no. Let's continue to work together and continue to improve."
At this stage last season, Arsenal had 17 points - nine fewer than eventual champions Chelsea.
Tipped as one of the title contenders this term, the Gunners have shown their pedigree, particular since the start of the month.
Arsenal beat both United and Watford 3-0 before brilliantly overcoming Germany champions Bayern Munich in midweek, and they have now won four successive games in the league.
"It is a perfect week and it's not easy to have that," added Wenger. "Now we have to keep our togetherness, concentration and humility, try to play better football game by game and focus on that in training as well."
Arsenal took control of the game at a rain-lashed Emirates Stadium with two headers in two first-half minutes by France internationals Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny. Ross Barkley gave Everton hope immediately before the interval.
Everton's defeat came at the cost of an injury to Phil Jagielka and manager Roberto Martinez fears the England defender could have suffered a serious knee injury after being forced out of the game early in the second half.
The Spaniard criticised Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the challenge that led to his captain being sidelined.
"It is the biggest negative to lose Phil Jagielka... because the referee has already awarded a free kick and it was an unnecessary challenge," Martinez said.
"It was needless from Oxlade-Chamberlain."