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'Marcus Rashford surprised us last time'

Arsene Wenger freely admits that we were well below our best on our last visit to Old Trafford.

That 3-2 defeat came on February 28 of this year and remains our only loss on the road in the Premier League in 2016.

The manager wants to put that right on Saturday.

"In 2016 we lost one away game and that was at Old Trafford," Wenger noted. "On top of that, it was a key game for us and that is where we did not respond with the quality of performance on the day.

"We did not only lose the game, but that’s maybe one of the few away games in the whole year where the performance was not at the level. So we want to focus on that and respond with a strong performance and after that we have to accept the result. But what will be very important for me is that we respond with a strong performance on Saturday."

Manchester United will be without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Wenger won’t take too much solace in that.

"Look, certainly they would prefer to have him but, let’s not forget, last year the guy who killed us was [Marcus] Rashford. So let’s not speculate on any weakness of Man United.

"Yes of course [Rashford was a surprise] but to me less because I watched him against a Danish team [earlier that week] and he scored and I could see straight away that this guy could be dangerous. On crosses his movement was good, the way he moved in the box was strong. He took everyone by surprise because no one knew him in England."

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Whether it’s Rashford or Wayne Rooney leading the line for United, Wenger knows how much a win at Old Trafford can do for our morale.

"It will strengthen our belief [if we win the game]," he said. "Like every other game, it strengthens your belief when you win it. Some wins have been decisive at Old Trafford but this one will just be a strengthening of our position in the league - that’s what we of course want to achieve.

"We go into a period of big games, one after another. The way we deal with these kinds of games will be very important to our position in the league and our ambitions. I believe we are on a very strong run of 16 games unbeaten. We had a little hiccup against Tottenham at home, but now we want to start winning our games again."

 

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