Wednesday 13 December 2017

Old Trafford jinx made 'insecure' Gunners nervous, admits Wenger

Ian Herbert

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger last night admitted that Manchester United retain a psychological grip over his Premier League leaders, who blew their chance to make a first substantive statement of title intent this season because of their own "nervousness".

Wenger said the team had been "insecure" against a United side whose eighth win out of the last nine matches at Old Trafford against the Gunners takes them up to fifth in the table.

Nemanja Vidic's departure to hospital with a head injury, after he clashed with David de Gea, was their only setback.

"Maybe with the fact we haven't won for a long time here and it was a big game (caused our) nervousness," said Wenger, who did not try to hide behind the sickness bug which had affected five of his players and ruled out Per Mertesacker.

The Arsenal manager (below) said that Robin van Persie's set-piece goal, which the Dutchman celebrated exuberantly after suffering severe abuse from Arsenal's fans, was something the side "knew could happen".

Wayne Rooney, whose display of energy and guile was the afternoon's outstanding performance, added that United had been working on that precise weakness in Wenger's team.

"We worked on free-kicks and corners because Arsenal have got a lot of smaller players in the team and we thought that could be an opportunity where we could get a goal and, thankfully, it paid off," Rooney declared.

David Moyes agreed this was his most significant win as United manager, extending the club's unbeaten run to nine games, though he insisted on another topsy-turvy day when Manchester City lost at Sunderland that there would be more setbacks.

"We have got a lot of big steps to make," he said. "It is going to take a while for me to get it where I'd like it to be.

"I don't know if (this) puts out any statement. Everybody for years has known how good Manchester United can be. My job and the team's job is to continue that. We are going to get a few bloody noses along the way." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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