‘We will respect Robin and Man United’

Arsène Wenger

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will ‘respect’ Manchester United and former striker Robin van Persie when the sides meet at Emirates Stadium next Sunday.

Victory over Aston Villa on Monday night will confirm a 20th league title for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team after Manchester City were beaten at Tottenham Hotspur.

Van Persie could be a title winner when he makes his first appearance in N5 since leaving the Club last summer but Wenger is not convinced that the game will be any easier for his side if the visitors are already champions.

"What I want is for us to have a good game and to beat them [Man United], it doesn’t matter what kind of status they come with"

“I don’t know, what I want is for us to have a good game and to beat them, it doesn’t matter what kind of status they come with,” he said.

“We have 63 points and we have four games to go, two at home, two away. Let’s go and win the next one, that’s all we can do.

“As a champion or not as a champion it [Van Persie’s reception] is exactly the same. We will respect the players that have played for us a long time as we always have done and treat them well before and after the game.”

Saturday’s 1-0 win over Fulham pushed Arsenal back up to third place in the Premier League.

With the race for the top four intensifying, Wenger was pleased that his side maintained their winning run.

“Fulham is always difficult for us, they are always up for it against us and you could see that again on Saturday,” he said.

“And I’m not even sure a sending off did help us. They [Fulham] had a bit of a lethargic start but it shook them up and they had a go. They played deep and went on the break every time.

“We played a bit with the handbrake, especially in the second half we played a bit ‘oh, let’s not make a mistake’, and that’s always the best way to make one instead of going forward without any restriction.

“We played ‘OK, security’ and our game is more about initiative and our initiative wasn’t there in the second half.”

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