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Wayne Rooney’s Talk of Arsenal Implosion Means United Admit That Gunners Are In Title Mix: Nightly Soccer Report

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:

Premier League

International soccer

US soccer


UEFA Europa League

The Nightly Soccer Report is tomorrow’s news today. It’s often tomorrow morning’s worldwide newspaper headlines that are published the night before. We do all the work for you, combing the Internet and aggregating the news for you. Read The Nightly Soccer Report on World Soccer Talk every night before bed, so you can stay on top of all the news that matters. 

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  1. Mark Williamson

    November 8, 2013 at 6:44 am

    ““We’re obviously capable of beating Arsenal. We’ve done it many times in the past.” This is rather a mundane remark from Mr. Rooney and does not back up his argument. With the advance of Arsenal players along with the acquisitions that Arsenal has made over the year they are a new team. You can not try to compare todays Arsenal to the team of 2, 3 or 4 years ago.It doesn’t work.

  2. francis

    November 8, 2013 at 1:03 am

    NBC & ESPN are gonna have a hard time selling the rest of these MLS playoffs to the casual fans. No LA no NY no Boston: No Dempsey, no Donovan no Henry. These are 4 good teams remaining, but few people outside those cities will care. US sports is very star-driven, and most of the MLS’s stars will be on the golf course next week

  3. Americano & Proud

    November 7, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Wow. Timbers putting the nail in the coffin on Sounders after a called handball at the edge of the box. 3-1 Aggregate.

  4. Americano & Proud

    November 7, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    No MLS open thread? RSL and LA heading to extra time after both are locked up at 1 on aggregate.

    • Americano & Proud

      November 7, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Galaxy are eliminated after a last ditch chance at goal. RSL move on after scoring the go ahead goal in ET, then hold on down a man.

    • jtm371

      November 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      you could start mlstalk and i promise none of us eurosnobs would ever bother you or click on your site.:)

      • Americano & Proud

        November 8, 2013 at 12:01 am

        Did I call you a eurosnob? I’m just here to discuss the MLS playoffs. I’m not here to label anyone anything. Also as far as I’m concerned this website is called World Soccer Talk. If that bothers you so much perhaps you should find a website that discusses the BPL exclusively. Thanks for your concern.

    • Marc L

      November 8, 2013 at 5:54 am

      If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it……

    • Christopher Harris

      November 8, 2013 at 7:04 am

      We’ve done open threads for MLS games before in recent weeks but no one posted in them. I’ll do them if there’s interest in the next round of games.

  5. jdoe

    November 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Shrek actually has this one wrong. The past few years Arsenal has done well from December onwards. Arsenal’s usual problem is a slow start.

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