Football

Wenger: Belief is Gunner be key

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Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal can head to Manchester United for their European clash this week full of self-belief after extending an unbeaten Barclays Premier League run to 20 matches with a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Middlesbrough.

Leading scorer Robin van Persie remains sidelined by a groin problem, and Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin is cup-tied in the Champions League, so the double salvo by captain Cesc Fabregas on Sunday and the return to fitness of goalkeeper Manuel Almunia could not have come at a better time.

With such a vital tie only some 72 hours away, Wenger would have been forgiven if he had rested a couple of his key men, but he said: "The first target was to win the game, and that is the best preparation."

He added: "If you go to Old Trafford without belief, you make it very difficult at the start for you.

"We will go there with belief and to enjoy it, and also will be faithful to the game we play and will go there like we do everywhere in Europe to try to score and win the game.

"What is important on Wednesday night is that we are at our best - when we are our best we can beat everybody, so let's focus on us to be at our best and not to speculate on any weakness of Manchester United because they have experience.

"If we play at our best, we have a good chance and can do it."

Fabregas' double were his first goals since the start of October.

"It keeps the run going we have got in the league and two days before the Manchester United game, which is probably our most important one of the season, it's good for the confidence," said the Arsenal captain, subject to a misconduct charge by the Football Association in the fall-out from the FA Cup tie against Hull.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Robin Van Persie
Andrey Arshavin
European News
Football
Premier League
Manuel Almunia
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Middlesbrough
Hull City
FA Cup

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