Arsene Wenger admits that a positive result against Manchester United on Sunday bodes well for an Arsenal title charge given the three previous squads he managed to Premier League glory all avoided defeat at Old Trafford.
In March 1998 Marc Overmars’ goal famously saw off the Red Devils as the Gunners clawed back a 12-point deficit to win the Double before Sylvain Wiltord repeated the trick in May 2002 as Wenger’s side toasted the title on enemy territory.
While the ‘Invincibles’ didn’t beat United on their own patch their 0-0 draw was no less dramatic given the way Ruud ‘horse-faced-cheating-scumbag’ van Nistelrooy missed a penalty in the last seconds before getting the ‘fuck-you’ treatment from Martin Keown.
Having opened up a five-point lead at the top of the table, the boss underlined that his current crop can further consolidate their title-challenging credentials with a result against David Moyes’ underperforming squad.
“When we have done very well in winning leagues, we have always done well at Old Trafford,” he told assembled press at London Colney.
“They were one of the main rivals as well and people judge you on how well you do over there, so it is a big game.
“We believe we can get a result. We go there like we go everywhere, to control the game and win it. We still think the best way to win at Old Trafford is to control the game, which means take the ball, keep the ball and have more possession than they do.
“We are maybe a bit less under pressure because we have a little advantage [at the top of the table]. But we have to use that in a positive way. Our hunger will be tested there.”
Like most teams we’ve not enjoyed much luck at Old Trafford in recent years – something Wenger hinted yesterday had something to do with Ferguson’s influence over referees – although in truth that ignores some rather pitiful showings in the league and cup up there. At times we’ve collapsed more easily than Ashley Young in a light breeze.
It’s time to start redressing the balance.