Preview: Man. United vs Arsenal
The opening month of the campaign has not been brought to an end yet, but that cannot stop Arsenal from confronting what is the ultimate “big test” of a season.
A clash on the road with the defending champions, an arch-rival in the title race, and a side which – if not for a slump at Burnley – have been nearly as good as the Gunners themselves will not come easy.
If Wenger’s men really are cruising into this campaign, they will have to retain that mode through the smooth and rough.
The ‘smooth’ saw Arsenal dismantle sorry Everton and Portsmouth who lie rock bottom on the table and on Saturday, there will come the ‘rough’ at Old Trafford.
You sense despite their exhilarating form, Arsenal are still title pretenders to pundits so far, and should they overcome Manchester United tomorrow, they may, just may, turn into contenders.
This traditional grand slam fixture may have come too early this season, but on another note, the timing may just be perfect.
You rarely return unscathed after visiting Old Trafford without spirit, and with Arsenal’s confidence sky-high ahead of the weekend, there may never be a better time to set the record straight at where the Premier League crown currently belongs.
That is why Arsene Wenger is rubbing his palms.
“I am happy to go to Old Trafford because it is the first big test. You want always to have a high level of confidence when you go to Old Trafford, we have that at the moment.” the manger declared.
Arsenal’s stunning 100% start to the season is what has set an extreme magnitude for this particular match, and Wenger is aware his stars must have their body well prepared to take stage at the so called “theater of dreams”.
“That is what we want to focus on, to continue to improve our team play, the speed of our game and show that we have made big improvements come Saturday at 5.15pm.” he said.
“For us, it is most important to recover physically because Manchester United did not play during the week.”
Arsenal last traveled to Manchester to help witness United lift a third straight league title after a compelling 0-0 draw.
That day served as strong motivation to Wenger’s men who have began this year with a flyer, and just three months and five competitive games after visiting Old Trafford, the Gunners will be back there to announce their serious title mission.
Critics have sharpened their pencils for what is the examination of Arsenal’s season so far and should Wenger’s men pass with flying colors, they may force fooled faces again.
But failure on Saturday will have a doubter feeling more like a genius.
Fabianski, Vela, Djourou, Nasri and Walcott will be sidelined while Tomas Rosicky and Cesc Fabregas have slim chances of participating.