• FA Cup

Arsenal can handle United at Old Trafford, says Wenger

ESPN staff
March 9, 2015
Manchester United-Arsenal rivalry lacks fire?

Arsene Wenger says his Arsenal players can handle Old Trafford despite his side not winning there since 2006.

Emmanuel Adebayor's goal in September that year gave Arsenal their last victory at Manchester United and Wenger's side have suffered some mortifying defeats since, most notably an 8-2 humiliation three-and-a-half years ago.

Arsenal travel to United for their FA Cup quarter-final on Monday and, having scored an impressive away win against Manchester City in January, Wenger insisted his side do not fear playing at Old Trafford.

"I know we have not won at Old Trafford for a few years but I don't believe history plays any part in this game," Wenger said.

"It doesn't matter what shirt they wear, or what stadium they play in. It is down to quality. If I've learnt something in my life it's that the performance on the day decides the outcome of the day, not where you play.

"We won at Manchester City and the fact that we can win away from home, that is important. If you haven't won away from home all season it's more difficult. But we know we can do well away from home."

However, the fact United have already secured somewhat of a psychological advantage this season appears to have irked Wenger. Louis van Gaal's first away victory as United manager came when his side won 2-1 at the Emirates last November, a result that still haunts the Frenchman.

"We have lost some points in the Premier League this season that we should never have lost," Wenger added. "The game against United was the biggest one we threw away.

"We were so dominant that the game should have been over in the first half-hour. When you look again at the way we conceded the two goals -- well, we just offered them the game."

While Van Gaal wants his United side to hurt Arsenal's top four ambitions on Monday, Wenger insists his side can deliver a psychological blow of their own.

Last season's FA Cup success gave Arsenal their first trophy in nine years and Wenger believes the Wembley triumph restored a winning belief amongst his players.

"It's a big game, and every big win in a big game has an impact subconsciously in the belief of the team," Wenger said.

"Once you get to the quarter-final you think that's a good opportunity to win a trophy. Winning the FA Cup last season gave us energy. How much, I don't know.

"But it gave us energy because we had a few years without winning a trophy and on that front it was vital. The change after winning a trophy is more linked with belief.

"This team has a good mentality because we had a slow start this season and every time when we lose a big game you see how much the players are touched. I think the mentality is very healthy, they want to do well and we will be focused on Monday night."

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