With Arsenal yet to beat a top side yet this season (only Tottenham Hotspur, Napoli, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund) we meet Manchester United full of confidence. The result against Dortmund in Germany in particular was a massive result and one Arsene Wenger and the lads should be hugely proud of.
How many teams in Europe could have gone there and won? I don’t think I am being controversial if I said I don’t think Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United wouldn’t have been able to do it.
So we go to Old Trafford on Sunday and for Arsenal fans, it is a is a bit of a strange feeling. On the one hand, it is Manchester United at Old Trafford, probably one of the most daunting places to go at the best of times. However, in a situation like no other in recent memory, we go there 8 points clear of the reigning champions. After only 10 games played, it is an unusual situation.
If we can beat Manchester United, then we would be a simply staggering 11 points clear of them. And despite my reservations (generally about United getting the decisions at Old Trafford in the big games and the probability that they will get a dodgy penalty) we are in a perfect position to heap more misery on them.
We are full of confidence, playing some scintillating football and as we showed midweek, we can mix it up and play a controlled game to get a result.
So the big question is, how do we play against Manchester United?
Arsenal have a slight conundrum now. As we have shown against Napoli, we are capable of playing a high tempo game which almost crushes the opposition by the sheer amount of pressure we give them. Against Borussia Dortmund, we managed to play an extremely controlled game and hurt them at the right time, and against Liverpool we sparred for long periods but that touch of class was enough to secure the win.
So what does Arsene Wenger do against David Moyes’ Manchester United?
While Arsenal have many reasons to be confident, Manchester United for all their troubles have picked up their performances in recent weeks. If we were playing the Manchester United of last month, I would be much more confident and while as a team they’re not playing great, they have Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney who are world class forwards who only need one chance.
I would absolutely love to beat Manchester United on Sunday and go 11 points clear of them. If we beat them, it would definitely mean more than the Tottenham, Napoli and Liverpool games, and even possibly the Dortmund match. That’s how much I can’t stand them.
Maybe it’s the rivalry from Arsene’s early days, the duels between Vieira and Keane, and all the heartache from that FA Cup Semi Final, but there is nothing more satisfying than beating Manchester United.
So do Arsenal play their normal attacking game or go more cautious? Going toe-to-toe with Manchester United could pay dividends but at the same time do we want Van Persie or Rooney to have a sniff?
We are capable of scoring first then picking them off as they try and score an equaliser. It would be interesting to see Arsene’s record against David Moyes, although I do remember one particular Everton game at The Emirates were they comfortably beat us.
Maybe I’m over thinking it, and maybe I just want to beat Manchester United so badly, but I know this Arsenal team is more than capable of turning United’s season into complete misery this weekend and I just want to make sure we take advantage.