Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has hit back at comments from former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes that the Gunners are "a million miles away" from challenging for the Barclays Premier League title.
Arsenal tackle a rampant Manchester City side - who won 3-0 at Old Trafford in midweek - on Saturday tea-time following the disappointment of conceding a late own goal in a 2-2 draw against Swansea.
That match fuelled the pessimism which intensified following Arsenal's 6-0 humiliation at Chelsea in Wenger's 1,000th match in charge.
Wenger has experienced another chastening week at Arsenal
In his role as a TV pundit, Scholes launched a fierce attack on Arsenal under Wenger, claiming they had "midfield players with no discipline" and adding that "there are no leaders" at the north London club.
Wenger, though, insists his squad - which has been hit by injuries to key men like Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey - have what it takes to compete with the best.
"If six points (from the top) is a million miles away, then I don't know what the translation from a mile into a point is," Wenger said on Friday morning.
Scholes was damning in his assessment of Arsenal on Tuesday night
"Everybody has opinions, people who have managed zero games have opinions and we have to accept that. What you live with is what you do on the pitch, and all the rest is only opinions.
"We are in a society where there are thousands of opinions every day, and some go for you and some go against you. You have to live with that."
Scholes scored a 2004 FA Cup semi-final winner against Arsenal at Villa Park
Former England international Scholes also questioned the development of Wilshere, who had yet to go onto the "next level". Wenger, unsurprisingly, also rejected those claims.
The Gunners boss said: "You cannot say that, Jack Wilshere is an exceptional player for me who has been handicapped by many injuries.
"Once Jack is back and consistently on the pitch, he will prove everybody wrong about that because he is an exceptional player - and Scholes knows that as well."