Premier League

Wenger: Humiliation not important

Arsene Wenger (R) watches Arsenal lose 8-2 at Manchester United last season.
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Manager Arsene Wenger maintains revenge will not be on the agenda when Arsenal head to Manchester United on Saturday.

The Gunners return to Old Trafford for the first time since they were humiliated 8-2 by the Red Devils in August 2011.

Wenger, however, insists while painful at the time, that freak result is now well and truly out of the squad's system.

"Revenge? No. Of course there is an emotional aspect to a result like that, but on a footballing front I don't think you give it too much importance," he said.

"It is down to a team being much better than another that the scores are high, or down to special circumstances. On the day I think the result was down to special circumstances.

"That is why the emotional meaning is big, but the footballing meaning is not very big, and we have had that behind us for a long, long time now."

Arsenal were crippled by injuries to key men for their last visit to Old Trafford, in which then rookie full-back Carl Jenkinson was sent off, with Aaron Ramsey the only likely starter on Saturday from the XI that afternoon.

Wenger feels this time around the Gunners can use the momentum of their amazing midweek Capital One Cup at Reading, as they look to make inroads into the advantage of their rivals at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

"It is a part of the season where we have played Liverpool away, Stoke away, [Manchester] City away, and now Manchester United away," he said.

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"If we do well in this game we can come closer to Manchester United and we will have played mainly all the big teams away from home."

Wenger added: "For the belief of the team it is vital that we do well because it is important that we restructure the consistency of our team during the season.

"We know that will be vital because it looks like many teams can beat each other, so it is very important for us to do well against the big teams."

To do that, Arsenal must look to shackle the threat of former captain Robin van Persie, who has notched seven Premier League goals already since his £24million summer move, as well as tighten up at the back - with just one clean sheet now in their last 11 matches.

Wenger said: "We have always worked defensively, but it is not just because you don't work that you concede goals.

"It is not always about your weaknesses, it is about strengths as well."

Arsenal head to Germany next week for their Champions League fixture against Schalke, where a win would all but seal a place in the knockout stages.

With such important matches so close together, Wenger admits he has to look at the bigger picture in terms of team selection at Old Trafford.

"For us, Schalke is a vital game in the competition," he said.

"This is the game of the competition for us because, if we get a result at Schalke, we are nearly there.

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"We have two big games and I will have to consider the two games."

Olivier Giroud came off the bench in the second half at Reading, but is likely to return to lead the Arsenal line on Saturday.

The France striker feels his team-mates cannot afford such lapses in concentration as they showed against the Royals.

"We have to remember our problems and correct them because while we were able to come back in this game, we might not be able to do so next time," he said.

"We have to concentrate better from the start of each game.

"Although we have a difficult game [at Old Trafford], I am confident in our quality."

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