This is a massive game for Arsenal for a number of reasons. But Arsene Wenger seems to be feeling very confident and sounds like he is really looking forward to the game with excitement rather than any nerves and I think I know why. Because the FA cup quarter-final against Manchester United on Monday is at Old Trafford!
This might sound a bit strange, especially when you remember that our away record has not been exactly brilliant this season, while United have been much better at home than away. The stats don’t lie but don’t forget either that the Gunners have just won back to back Premier League games away from home for the first time this season, so our self-belief is up and as an Arsenal.com report shows, Wenger believes that it will be a good day to be a Gooner.
He said, “We go to Manchester United to qualify and to give absolutely everything. That’s the target of the day – hard work, team effort and to give absolutely everything. Both teams will do that and I believe it could be a very interesting game.
“At the moment we are doing very well away from home. The size of the pitch is exactly the same everywhere, it’s just down to how much we turn up and how much effort we put in to win the game.
“It is a [game with] special intensity because it is between two teams who have a chance to win this competition. Both teams will think, ‘If we get over this hurdle, we have a good opportunity to win the competition’. It is more focused on the FA Cup purely than the Premier League.
“I still think possession is an important part of the game – you cannot go into a game and say you do not want the ball. Sometimes you do not have the ball because your opponent is better, sometimes you are leading 1-0 or 2-0 and your team is focused on defending the advantage.
“You have to analyse it. You also have to look at ways of possession – is it in your own half or is it in the opponents half? If it is in your half, it can be a bit illusionary possession.
“But overall I still think it is very important that the sport rewards people and teams who take initiative.”
Arsenal seem to have found a way to play against the big clubs on the road. And I think that Wenger feels that playing away against United might suit us more, as the onus will be on them to come forward rather than just soaking up pressure as they did at the Emirates and a more open game should suit the likes of Ozil, Alexis, Cazorla and all a lot better.
Finally, the pressure is off Arsenal a little bit as if we do lose it would not be as bad as losing at home. But will that pressure tell on the United team?