• Premier League

Wenger: We've moved on from 8-2 defeat

Kevin Palmer
November 2, 2012

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists revenge will not be on his mind as he prepares to revisit the scene of the most humiliating massacre of his career this weekend.

Wenger's shell-shocked Gunners were thumped 8-2 by Manchester United last season in a defeat that raised huge question marks over the future of the veteran manager, and he is returning a little over a year later with similar concerns over the abilities of his defence.

A revamped Arsenal back-line conceded four goals in the first 37 minutes of their remarkable Capital One Cup comeback win against Reading on Tuesday night, and their record of just one clean sheet in their last 11 games is a worry for Wenger.

"That statistic concerns me a bit, but we go there with confidence," he insisted. "I will not mention last season's result at all ahead of this game because 90 per cent of the players who will play on Saturday did not play at Old Trafford last season.

"Of course, there is an emotional aspect to a result like that, but revenge is not something I think about in this game. On a footballing front, I don't think you give too much importance to a result like that.

"It is down to a team being much better than another that the scores are high, or down to special circumstances. On the day, I think the result was down to special circumstances.

"Defending is not always about your weakness, but also the strength of the opposition as well. You have to give credit as well to the offensive quality in the Premier League and I can promise you we work hard on our defence.

"People forget that last year we were the team with the least shots against us in the league. We have always worked defensively. It is not just because you don't work that you concede goals. It is not just Steve Bould's fault (Arsenal assistant boss) if we concede goals!"

Wenger believes his side can draw inspiration from the 3-2 victory of their north London rivals Tottenham at Old Trafford this season ahead of their first face-to-face with Robin van Persie since his summer move from Arsenal to United.

"We go there believing we have an opportunity," he added. "If we do well in this game, we can come closer to Man United and we'll have played mainly all the big teams away from home. So for us it is a very important game.

"We know that will be vital because it looks like many teams can beat each other. It is very important for us to do well against the big teams. Tottenham beat them at Old Trafford this season, so there is certainly an opportunity."

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