Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal have the “perfect scenario” to put themselves back among the big boys.
Incredibly, Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford in the Premier League since 2006
And they have not won away at any of the Big Six since 2015, a run which stretches back 28 games.
Arteta is clearly making progress to make Arsenal genuine contenders once again.
But they cannot afford another defeat so early in the season, having already lost to Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester, and beating Manchester United would be a statement result.
Gunners boss Arteta said: “I think it’s been 14 years since Arsenal have won a Premier League game at United and, after the defeat like we had against Leicester last week, I think it’s the perfect scenario to go there and try to do that.
“This is the challenge now. We’ve done it against some big teams already, now we have to do it in a consistent way. I’m not concerned about performances because you can see the trend and how we are evolving.
“We will go to Old Trafford with the same mindset, to go there and try to win the football match and improve.
“We are in a process and hopefully we will be a more solid and ruthless team week in and week out.”
Arsenal have, of course, beaten big teams at the Emirates under Arteta – including United and Liverpool – and also on the way to winning the FA Cup.
But title-winning teams never used to get away with losing more than five games in a season, and Liverpool were crowned champions last season having lost only three times.
Arteta, though, is expecting a different campaign.
“What we are facing is unprecedented,” he said. “If you look at the table this season compared to last season it is a completely different league for everybody.”
Arteta does, however, accept that they have yet to find the right balance between defence and attack, particularly when it comes to creativity.
Incredibly, Arsenal have scored fewer goals per game under Arteta than they managed with Unai Emery – 1.54 compared to 1.78.
Equally, Arteta’s reign has managed just 9.5 shots per game compared to 12.3 under Emery. However, they have conceded far less under Arteta, 1.08 comapred to 1.37.
Arteta added: “We have come a long way, this is the next step. We have to attack certain blocks in certain positions and with a certain number of players. We will get better at it.”
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