Wayne Rooney’s hint that Arsenal could slip up between now and March is a sign that the Gunners are a serious threat and that they’re in the title mix, argues Guardian writer David Hytner, in the build-up to this weekend’s match between Manchester United and Arsenal (televised live at 11am ET Sunday on NBCSN for viewers in the United States).
When asked about Arsenal, Rooney said this within the last 24 hours:
“We’ll have to wait and see where Arsenal are in March. We’ve seen before that they’ve been in the top two until February or March and then faded away. They are doing brilliantly at the minute, so it’s down to them to try and stay there and us to catch them.
“We’re obviously capable of beating Arsenal. We’ve done it many times in the past. They’re on a good run of form at the moment and they’re top of the league, so we know it’s going to be a difficult game.
“But we have to go into it with confidence and a belief this is when we can edge closer to them and bring us back into the mix of being at the top of the league.
“There are only nine or 10 games gone so there’s no big worry at the moment. We’re starting to do well. We’re confident at the minute, we’re getting more clean sheets and playing with freedom. If we can get the victory on Sunday then we’re in a great position.”
Hytner argues that Rooney said what he said because “[he's trying to] raise the pressure on [Arsenal] before Sunday’s meeting. And when he said it, it revealed plenty about how the defending champions have come to view Arsenal. Sir Alex Ferguson, towards the end of his Old Trafford tenure, did not bother to joust with Wenger because, in essence, he no longer considered him and Arsenal to be a rival. The managers came to tolerate and, even, like each other. Rooney’s pop, as such, might have cheered the Arsenal support.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey rejected Rooney’s comment, saying “I think the boss said the other day that from January we’re the team in the league who have picked up the most points, from last season as well. I don’t think our form has been that bad after Christmas.”
Here are tonight’s world soccer news headlines:
- Wayne Rooney’s talk of Arsenal implosion means they are in title mix — The Guardian
- Aaron Ramsey rejects Wayne Rooney’s claim that Arsenal could struggle to go the distance in the EPL — Telegraph
- Liverpool will transfer Raheem Sterling out on loan.. but want an experienced replacement first — The Mirror
- Fulham’s Martin Jol dismisses job speculation as Liverpool loom large — The Guardian
- Premier League and FACT combine to convict on illegal streaming — Premier League
- Steven Gerrard may quit England after Brazil, says Brendan Rodgers — The Guardian
- Diego Costa gets first Spanish national team call-up — Inside Spanish Football
- First look: ‘Pele’ biopics shoots in Brazil — Variety
- Roy Hodgson won’t try to find out leaked details of Poland team talk — Sky Sports
- Martin O’Neill poses for first picture with the Ireland shirt — The Mail
- Wales boss Chris Coleman to meet FAW about new contract — BBC Sport
- Columbus Crew roll dice with Gregg Berhalter hiring — FOX Soccer
- Freddy Adu to be released from Brazilian club Bahia due to “technical deficiencies” — Pro Soccer Talk
- Zlatan told me I have a terrible moustache, says Anderlecht player Sacha Kliejstan — The Guardian
- What to look out for this weekend in the A-League — The Guardian
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