Arsenal should use guard of honour as motivation against Manchester United

Robin Van Persie's return to the Emirates with Premier League champions Manchester United will sting, but Arsenal's players should use it to fire themselves up in a crucial match for their Champions League hopes.

There is no doubt that Arsenal fans will hate the sight of Robin Van Persie returning to their stadium as a Premier League champion, but all the planned protests and hand-wringing at the idea of a guard of honour will do nothing to help their team in the match.

If anything disrespecting Van Persie and the United team will only serve to fire up a side that in theory do not have a lot to play for on Sunday.

Instead Arsenal should simply get through the ceremonial nonsense, and channel any bitterness towards the Dutchman into their performance.

Any annoyance at applauding the Manchester United team will be quickly forgotten if Arsenal then defeat United to claim a vital three points in the race for a top four place, and Arsene Wenger's team should have far more motivation to win the game this weekend.

Manchester United will naturally claim they will put everything into their remaining fixtures, and that the prospect of setting a new Premier League point record is enough to push them to win every match they play in.

But in reality it might be hard to keep coaxing top level performances out of a group of players who have already won the title, and they might only come alive at the Emirates if Arsenal give them either an opportunity on the pitch, or a reason to off it.

So far this week there has been a huge amount of speculation about how the fans will react to the guard of honour, with rumours even arising that the Arsenal players are uncomfortable at the idea.

But if the Arsenal fans and players focus their energies instead on getting at Manchester United when the game actually starts, they could easily win the match, and put themselves on track for the Champions League.

image: © cactusbeetroot

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