Former Arsenal midfielder and current TalkSport pundit Stewart Robson spoke exclusively to ManUtd.com this week ahead of the Gunners' visit to Old Trafford...
Arsenal may have won 7-5 on Tuesday but they’ve not been in great form in recent weeks. That said, we’re not going to see a repeat of the 8-2 scoreline from last season, are we?
Having watched Arsenal for a number of years I can say with some confidence that they’re a very hard team to predict. They shouldn’t be, mind you, because every year they start well and then falter. But you don’t know from one week to the next what Arsenal you’re going to get. You don’t know if you’re going to get the brilliant, free-passing, high-energy football or the poor defending and pedestrian passing. Against Manchester City, which, on paper, was their toughest game of the season up until now, they were great and played them off the park in many respects. In the big games they’ve done quite well. I’m not sure which Arsenal will turn up at Old Trafford.
What we do know is that Arsenal never sit back at Old Trafford...
No, they never do that. They sometimes get pushed back by the opposition but they approach each game trying to play their football and win the game. Their full-backs will push on down the line, their midfielders will run forward, they'll want to dominate the game. But while Arsenal can dominate the game with their passing, the very best sides also dominate the game defensively by pressing and closing down the opposition. Sometimes Arsenal are bypassed too easily.
What have you made of United this season?
I’ve been to Old Trafford a couple of times this season and seen some scintillating forward play. Certainly, Robin van Persie has settled in really well and I like the diagonal runs Danny Welbeck makes. Antonio Valencia has also been outstanding. But I question whether some of the midfielders’ defensive qualities are good enough and the full-backs sometimes get caught high up the pitch. United look more vulnerable at the back this season but that’s not necessarily the defenders’ fault. Defending has to come from all over the pitch.
Just how good a player have United signed in Robin van Persie?
Robin van Persie has gone from being an injury-prone player who only delivers in fits and starts to a mature, world-class forward. He’s not only scoring goals but his general all-round play is also good. Arsenal obviously know about his qualities – they know he likes to drag the ball back onto his left foot when he comes infield, they know he can make