Arsenal will travel to Manchester on Saturday for a game which is considered by many as the biggest in the country.
The Gunners are in a buoyant mood after their 2 emphatic wins of the previous week, and nothing showed that more than the Frenchman’s beaming smile answering questions on the game, his relationship with Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Robin Van Persie.
The first question put towards the Arsenal manager was the feeling of going to Manchester United’s home ground Old Trafford without his long-term combatant Sir Aex Ferguson in the opposite dugout.
‘’It will especially be new, because in the last 17 years, it was the case, and, yes, it will be a bit strange.’’
The games at Old Trafford have been certainly memorable at times over the years, especially since the heated rivalry between the two managers was so huge.
There has been no game bigger than Manchester United ending the 49-match unbeaten run of Arsenal in the Premier League. The game labelled as ‘Battle of the Buffet’ certainly was one of the Premier League greats, Manchester United won the game 2-0 with late goals from Van Nistelrooy and Rooney. Arsenal players clearly frustrated at unable to at least reach the 50 game mark, went off in a angrily fashion, which resulted in a pizza being thrown at Alex Ferguson by an unknown Arsenal player, later confirmed as Cesc Fabregas.
However, Old Trafford has been a sore point for Arsenal in recent years, having not won there in over a decade and losing horrendously 8-2 in 2011, which is considered to have been the lowest point in Arsene Wengers illustrious managerial career at Arsenal.
The Frenchman clearly buoyed by the recent results and the teams form has reiterated to United about his team’s chances going into the game;
‘’Yes, it’s still one of the benchmarks of the season
‘’it’s where you judge how strong you are’’
He has said that it’s a game where people make strong conclusions after the game, and admitted his poor form at Old Trafford in recent years, saying:
‘’Recently, yes, we haven’t done so well… it’s a good opportunity to show we’ve improved and we can win there.’’
It’s a clear sign of hunger to blow the cobwebs away and return from Old Trafford with 3 points.
When asked about Wayne Rooney’s comments about them not being serious title contenders he coolly said
‘’Comments are comments, no-one knows what’s going to happen’’
Due to see Alex Ferguson tomorrow after the controversial book was produced, the Frenchmen was asked on a few discussion points of that, both on the view of Robin Van Persie and his relationship with Alex Ferguson, which he said will be more ‘peaceful’ when the pair meet tomorrow.
Regarding Van Persie, the former Arsenal man shifted the praise onto former assistant manager and Dutch coach Rene Meulensteen for signing up Arsenal’s key player at the time, rather than the influence of Alex Ferguson.
The questions didn’t stop there regarding his former front man and when asked whether he thought Van Persie regrets the move because both coach and manager had gone, he said:
‘’Only Robin Van Persie can tell you that. I’m not in a position to do that’’
The admiration for the striker was still seeping through when he responded to a question asking whether it was weird seeing Robin Van Persie in a Manchester United shirt, he said:
‘’Of course, Robin Van Persie is an Arsenal man… for me he is an Arsenal player’’
The game Saturday will very much show that Robin Van Persie is not an Arsenal player and the defensive effort to stop both him and Rooney will have to be perfect.
See the full press conference below
image: © dyobmit