It has been really annoying and a sore point for Arsenal fans that we had failed to make the most of the problems at Manchester United since their long serving manager Alex Ferguson stepped down almost two years ago.
We have been on the wrong end of many results against Fergie’s United, including goals by our former captain van Persie in his first three games against us since listening to the little boy inside and turning his back on the club and manager that had made him what he was.
So still being able to record a win over them under David Moyes, when they were losing games to the likes of Sunderland, Swansea, Stoke and the Spuds, suggested that the Gunners had a mental block. It was not just United either, as last season saw Arsenal struggle against all the big clubs. And the home loss this season was perhaps the most frustrating, even though we did play better and were very unlucky.
But we were better at Chelsea this year, we drew at Liverpool and beat Man City on the road and it seemed as though Wenger and the players were getting this fear out of their systems. A first win at Old Trafford in nine years is the latest step for us and the manager believes it was the lack of fear we took into the game that brought about the result, as a report on the Arsenal website reveals.
Wenger said, “I’m very happy because it was an important game for us. To go to an opponent like Manchester United in the FA Cup, in a direct knockout, you have to win.
“Mentally we were prepared and started on the front foot without any apprehension. We put them under pressure from the start and overall, we deserved to win the game.
“[Winning here shows that] we are improving and progressing. To win a big game helps to increase the belief of the team.”
So you could say that the Man City win set us up for this FA cup win over United. And that will help us to perform in the future in big games. We have big home league games coming up against Liverpool and Chelsea next month and we should have no fear going in to them. Could Wenger’s record against Mourinho be the next to go?