By Chris Harris
If Arsenal don’t win at Old Trafford on Saturday, it won’t do them any harm to see Manchester United lift the Premier League trophy.
That’s the verdict of Arsène Wenger, who takes his team north knowing that the champions will parade the spoils of another successful season if they take a point or more against a side they have already dispatched in the Champions League.
Arsenal fans never waste an opportunity to remind United supporters that they had stand and watch as Wenger’s class of 2002 clinched the ‘double’ at Old Trafford. The tables could well turn on Saturday but Arsenal’s manager believes a United party could inspire, not deflate, his players.
“Of course it can inspire the players,” said Wenger.
“These players will win and want to win but you have to accept as well, as we've said before, Man United at the moment is the best team. In sport, you have to accept that.
“They have watched us lifting the trophy as well. It's part of sport, and England is famous in sport for the fair play they have shown and the rugby teams have created this idea.
“If a team has been better than us, and Man United has been better than us without a doubt, the whole season, then [you applaud it].
“They played under pressure, Liverpool won the day before, the next day they come out and they believe they will win. At the end of the day, you have to say yes, you are the best and there is no shame to say that.”
Of course, Man United were guests at a Highbury title party in May 1991 when Nottingham Forest beat Liverpool before Arsenal’s game kicked off, thus handing George Graham’s men the title.
On that occasion Sir Alex Ferguson’s team - although he was plan old Alex back then - welcomed Arsenal onto the pitch with a guard of honour. That won’t happen at Old Trafford this weekend.
“No,” confirmed Wenger. “Usually you do that the game after and it will be down to Hull [to do it].”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 15 May 2009