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Smalling plays down unbeaten talk
After a third of the campaign, Manchester United are yet to lose. However, they face arguably their biggest test so far at Old Trafford on Monday when they tackle a Gunners side who took advantage of the Red Devils' inactivity last weekend to assume top spot.
"I am not sure we will ever see a team go through a whole season unbeaten again," said Smalling. "So many sides are losing matches unexpectedly now you would have to applaud any team who did do it."
He added: "For us at the moment, it is just about continuing the momentum.
"We didn't get into top gear during the first month of the season. Now it is time for us to kick on and send out a message because we are getting stronger as a team."
Smalling could find himself playing a bigger part in United's title drive than he imagined if the hamstring problem that forced Rio Ferdinand out of United's Champions League draw with Valencia on Tuesday proves more serious that initial claims from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The England Under-21 star is enjoying an excellent debut season at United following his summer arrival from Fulham and appears to have leapfrogged out-of-form Jonny Evans as Ferguson's first-choice alternative should either Ferdinand or skipper Nemanja Vidic be missing for any reason.
"I am really happy with the way it has gone so far," said Smalling, who was making his 11th appearance of the season this week. "The manager has given a lot of the younger lads a chance and has shown faith in me.
"You want to be involved in games and this is going to be a hectic time. There are a lot of games to be played over Christmas so the manager will want to use his squad.
"Rio and Vida are the first-choice central defenders but I have to be ready if called upon. I have been watching on from the sidelines and learning from them in training, so I am confident I will be ready to step in if required."
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