Wayne Rooney hass poured cold water over the strength of Arsenal’s title challenge prior to the two sides meeting at Old Trafford this weekend, stoking the fires ahead of a potentially season-defining encounter.
Arsenal have begun the season in impressive fashion and haven’t lost in the Premier League since the opening day and currently sit five points clear at the summit after Liverpool were the latest team to be swept away by Arsene Wenger’s men.
It has been suggested in some quarters that Arsenal’s good start to the season has been somewhat fortunate with the fixture list certainly favourable to the North London outfit in the early stages of the season and Rooney believes the strength of the Gunners’ title tilt can only be properly assessed in March.
“We’ve seen before that they’ve been in the top two until February or March and then faded away,” Rooney said.
“They are doing brilliantly at the minute, so it’s down to them to try and stay there and us to catch them.
“We’ll have to wait and see where Arsenal are in March.”
The 28-year-old is in a fine vein of form and traditionally fairs brilliantly against the Gunners, with a hat-trick in the 8-2 rout in September 2012 being one of the picks of his recent performances against Arsene Wenger’s side.
United currently lie in eighth place after a tough start to life under David Moyes which saw them fail to beat Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in the early stages of the season but signs of a corner being turned have been apparent in recent weeks, with a midweek draw against Real Sociedad an eighth game unbeaten in all competitions.
And asked about United’s prospect of victory this weekend, Rooney was in confident mood and suggested that there is more to come from the Champions this season.
He added: “We know we’re capable of playing better and we’re trying to do that. It’s up to us to keep trying to pick up points and then, come Christmas, see where we are.
“We had a whole new set-up and different ideas from the manager. It was a bit of a change but we’re starting to show the things that the manager wants.
“We’re starting to do well. We’re confident at the minute, we’re getting more clean sheets and playing with freedom.
“If we can get the victory on Sunday then we’re in a great position.”