Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has questioned whether Arsenal have the resolve to win the league title ahead of Sunday’s highly-anticipated clash at Old Trafford.
United have not hit their stride yet after a difficult adjustment period following the retirement of long-serving and hugely successful manager Sir Alex Ferguson and currently sit eight points behind league leaders Arsenal.
However Rooney has been on top form this season, notching seven goals and nine assists in all competitions to leave the England international confident enough to knock Arsenal’s title tilt.
“We’ll have to wait and see where Arsenal are in March,” he said.
“We have seen before that they have been in the top two until February or March and then faded away.”
Arsenal have enjoyed a brilliant week with wins at home to Liverpool and away at Borussia Dortmund, so although Rooney is sceptical of the challenge from north London come the business end of the season, he was full of admiration for the Gunners’ current form.
“They are doing brilliantly at the minute, so it’s down to them to try to stay there and us to catch them,” he said.
“We have to go into it with confidence and a belief this is when we can edge closer to them and bring us back into the mix of being at the top of the league.”
Arsenal haven’t beaten United in the league since May 2011, their only win in 12 attempts, while their record at Old Trafford makes even uglier reading: only one victory in the past decade, a 1-0 win in September 2006.
These statistics explain Rooney’s confident mood despite United’s sluggish start, which has drawn criticism even if David Moyes’ side have gone the past six games undefeated.
“We are obviously capable of beating Arsenal. We have done it many times in the past,” the 28-year-old said.
“There are only nine or 10 games gone, so there’s no big worry at the moment.
“We’re starting to do well. We’re confident at the minute – we’re getting more clean sheets and playing with freedom.”
Image courtesy of Tsutomo Takasu via WikiMediaCommons, with thanks.