Wenger plays down United clash
Arsene Wenger has said that Saturday’s game between Arsenal and Manchester United is not as big as some of the past matches between the two teams.
The two sides were often pitted against each other when the Premier League title either side of the Millennium was up for grabs but the Gunners have not finished at the top of the pile since the 2001/02 campaign while United’s last success was in the 2012/13 season.
Manchester City appear to be running away with the title this season so Saturday’s match looks set to be between two teams challenging for a top-four finish.
Wenger has a poor record against Jose Mourinho but will be keen to repeat May’s 2-0 win over United although Alexandre Lacazette will miss the match due to the groin injury he sustained during Wednesday’s 5-0 victory against Huddersfield Town.
Wenger could switch Alexis Sanchez into a central position or start with Olivier Giroud as his main striker.
“The history of the game plays a little part because it is two big clubs and that always creates a big game – the players know that a lot will be said before and after it,” said Wenger.
“Of course that has an influence. But it does not define the season as much because we are early on.
“During some seasons when I was here it was the final of the championship but that is not the case anymore as we have six or seven teams that fight at the top. But it is still a very big game and a very important one.”
The Gunners are already 12 points behind Manchester City and four adrift of United.
Arsenal are 6/4 to win Saturday evening’s match and 10/11 to finish in the top four this season. A draw at Emirates Stadium is available at 12/5.