There’s a few bad omens surrounding Arsenal as they head into Saturday afternoon’s meeting with Manchester United. They head to Old Trafford having not won there in the league for 10 years, with a manager who has never beaten Jose Mourinho in what is statistically their worst month in Premier League history.
So we thought we’d catch up with the team at A Bergkamp Wonderland to spread some optimism into this game for Gooners across the world.
Find out what they have to say about recent form, records and Mr Mourinho below…
Ladbrokes News: This game has brought about some great moments over the years. Which one would you say stands out to you on a personal level?
My favourite moment would be a game that Sylvain Wiltord scored the winner. Probably not the one that automatically springs to mind, though!
It was the FA Cup Fifth Round in the 2002-03 season. This game is special to me because it was probably the season I became completely besotted with Arsenal and football in general.
I was 13 at the time and had watched weeks of build-up talking about the history of the FA cup and I have distinct memories of running circles around my couch after Wiltord scored!
LN: Arsenal find themselves heading into this one in an unfamiliar position; they’re not favourites. Do you think they should be?
To be honest it does surprise me that we’re not down as slight favourites.
I can understand that United have the advantage of playing at home, and perhaps the Mourinho voodoo over Wenger suggests the market is right. But in terms of players, form and general identity I’d say we’re the better team.
LN: United will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Saturday’s match and you must be delighted with that news! Just how big a loss is he, and how much does it strengthen Arsenal’s chances?
Ibrahimovic’s loss is big because it’s clear that he’s Mourinho’s first choice by a mile, and he’d have picked up a lot of confidence in his last game after a brace.
Also, his ability to win aerial balls was instrumental to United’s game plan the last time they played a formidable pressing team in Liverpool, so perhaps that could be Mourinho’s plan A out the window.
LN: The Gunners haven’t won at Old Trafford in the league for 10 years. Will the players be thinking about that on Saturday?
I think it will weigh on some of the players’ minds but I’m hopeful we’re in a stronger mental state than we have been in previous seasons.
Last year we lost against a glorified United reserve team.
Add to that our reputation of November meltdowns and the fact Wenger has never beaten Mourinho in the league and it’s really important to see the whole team stand up and be counted.
LN: Be honest, is this Manchester United v Arsenal or Jose Mourinho v Arsene Wenger?
In some ways it is Mourinho v Wenger because they’ve been the main personal rivalry in the Premier League over the last decade, but it expands far beyond that.
Arsenal fans down to their core still care about this game above most and adding Mourinho into the equation will just raise fan’s emotions even higher.
LN: And on the subject of Mourinho, do you have anything positive to say about him?
It’s undeniable that Mourinho is a fantastic manager and a relentless winner for the most part.
That being said, I can definitely say that I’m loving watching him struggle!
LN: And finally, what’s your prediction for Saturday’s game?
I expect Mourinho to shut up shop on Saturday but with a lot of forced changes in the United defence I wouldn’t rule out an early Arsenal goal and that could open the floodgates.
I’m going to go with 3-1 to Arsenal (knock on wood).
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing