• Midfielder confident before crunch game at Manchester United
• Stance follows 'no guarantee' comments by Wayne Rooney
Aaron Ramsey has outlined Arsenal's growing sense of confidence before Sunday's match at Manchester United and said if they remain in position at the top of the Premier League at Christmas, they would have to be considered title contenders.
The United striker Wayne Rooney articulated the view on Wednesday that while Arsenal have started the season positively, there was no guarantee they would not implode. "We'll have to wait and see where Arsenal are in March," Rooney said. "We've seen before that they've been in the top two until February or March and then faded away."
Ramsey believes Arsenal have already conquered one of their principal demons from recent times by sticking together over pre-season and having a bright start.
After 10 matches, they are five points clear of second-placed Chelsea, while they took a major step towards the Champions League last 16 with the 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. It was the first time an English team had won at the Westfalenstadion. Ramsey scored the goal, his 11th of the season at club level. Arsenal face Manchester City away and Chelsea at home in the league just before Christmas and the midfielder's belief is reinforced by the statistic that shows Arsenal have taken more points than anybody over the calendar year and, also, by their resilience away from home, which has long been the hallmark of champions.
Arsenal have not lost on the road since 3 March – 15 matches in all competitions. "I think the boss [Arsène Wenger] said the other day that from January, we're the team in the league who have picked up the most points," Ramsey said.
"I don't think our form has been that bad after Christmas. In the last few seasons, we've had to dig in and get a load of points to get fourth place. We've managed to do that. Our biggest problem over the last few seasons has been [not] starting off well but we've managed to do that this season.
"If we get ourselves into a strong position, then our ability to get as many points as we can in the run-in has been second to none.
"We had a fantastic run-in to last season and after the disappointment of the opening game of the season [the home defeat by Aston Villa], we've managed to build. If we can keep it going until Christmas, then we know that we have the ability to compete."
Arsenal's record at Old Trafford is poor. They have lost eight and drawn one of their past nine visits in all competitions but there is the hope within their ranks that it can be different this time. The result against Dortmund came hard on the heels of the 2-0 home win over Liverpool and were they to beat United, they would move 11 points clear of the defending champions.
"This was always going to be a big week for us and we couldn't have got off to a better start," Ramsey said. "Hopefully we can go to Old Trafford and finish the job off. It would be massive to win there. We're feeling really confident at the moment, we're on good form, so why not go there and win?
"We have absolutely no fear. They've had a bit of a rough start. They've had a few good results, they're getting their confidence back up but we're really confident ourselves. Our away record has been really good, so, hopefully, we can continue building on that.
"So far we've shown we've got what it takes. We've got a massive game now at Manchester United and in the past few seasons, we've struggled to go there and get a good result. Hopefully we'll feel a lot more confident and this will be the time when we manage to do that."