By Rob Kelly
Arsène Wenger insists that Arsenal versus Manchester United clashes remain as important as ever despite the emergence of other title contenders.
The two clubs have traditionally shared an intense rivalry as they battled for domestic dominance during the Nineties and into the 21st century under Arsène Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson.
The old two-horse title race has become a far more competitive affair in recent years but Wenger believes that matches against United have not lost any of their significance.
“It's still the same. It is not the only game anymore because you have Chelsea and Man City coming in, with Liverpool still there. But it is a game that is watched all over the world,” he told Arsenal Player.
“We do [lift ourselves], we think we are on a similar level. I still think that when we have everybody available we are a strong force in this league. That's why it is important that we fight very hard [in order] not to drop points.”
Recent games between Arsenal and United at Emirates Stadium have seen Ferguson’s side pack the midfield in an effort to frustrate the Gunners, but Wenger believes his team have what it takes to prevail on Sunday.
“They sometimes have a very compact midfield to kill our passing game and get us on the counter-attack. They do that very well,” he said.
“I believe that sometimes it works for them, although last year we beat them 1-0 [at the Emirates] in a convincing way. It depends on how well we play on the day, how well we pass the ball through their lines - no matter how many are in there.”
See the full interview with the manager on Arsenal Player.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 20 Jan 2012