Manchester United striker tells his team they will have to be at their best to overcome Arsenal
Manchester: Pride will be at stake tonight as English giants Arsenal and Manchester United go head-to-head at the Emirates Stadium.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney is seen during an EPL match
Arsenal against United has been one of the biggest fixtures on the calendar in recent years, but neither side is considered a serious title contender this season. For United’s talismanic striker Wayne Rooney, the fixture still brings back fond memories, though.
“We’ve had some great memories,” Rooney said. “Beating them in the Champions League semi-final (in 2009) was probably the highlight.”
The same fixture last year ended in a dull 0-0 draw, but given the poor defensive record of both teams, it is unlikely the scoreline will be the same this season. Rooney is hoping United can strike early against their opponents and is expecting a tough match.
“It’s always a tight game and whoever gets the first goal normally wins or gets a result,” the 29-year-old said. “We have to go there with a good team shape and a good unit to make sure we do everything right. “Arsenal have got a good squad, an exciting squad with a lot of young players and a lot of English players which is great for England. We know they play with a lot of energy and we’ll have to be at our best to beat them.”
United’s injury crisis
Van Gaal has been hit by an injury crisis on the eve of the match. Radamel Falcao, Daley Blind, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Rafael are all out so Chris Smalling is likely to be partnered at centre-back by teenager Paddy McNair.
Fitness tests will be given to Michael Carrick, Luke Shaw, David de Gea and Angel di Maria, who all suffered minor injuries on international duty.
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'Danny right to quit Man United'
Wayne Rooney thinks Danny Welbeck did the right thing by leaving Manchester United for Arsenal this summer.
Many United fans were shocked earlier this year by Welbeck’s £16million transfer as he is a life-long United fan and joined the club as an eight-year-old.
“Of course, Danny has been here all of his life,” Rooney told MUTV. “He is a Manchester lad so it is weird seeing him (there). I think, for Danny it was probably the best move for him.”