Chris Smalling believes Manchester United must be considered favourites for this weekend’s blockbuster encounter with Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League.
Arsene Wenger’s side have made a fine start this season and visit Old Trafford as title race leaders. However, after a tricky spell, the champions appear to have turned a corner under David Moyes and are in the midst of an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
As a result, Smalling feels his team-mates are riding the crest of a wave and are determined to beat the Gunners on Sunday, subsequently closing the eight point gap that separates the two rival clubs.
“We are going into the game with a lot of confidence,” Chris exclusively told ManUtd.com. “We drew with Real Sociedad in the week but we had a lot of chances to win the game and I think we have gained a lot of confidence from our run of late. We are playing at Old Trafford and really looking forward to it.
“I don’t think there are any must-win games at this stage but it is still obviously a massive game. We are at home and we have to be the favourites to win. We have to take the game to them and show that we are the team that wants to win and close the gap.”
Arsenal visit the Theatre of Dreams in a rich vein of form and their attacking triumvirate of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud have particularly caught the eye this campaign. But rather than focusing on those three opponents, Smalling says United will concentrate on themselves.
“We will look at the videos and see what they are doing well. As a defence, we will then work on things to minimise their impact but we won’t think about it too much. As a whole team, they are playing very well. We will find out their negatives and weaknesses, then try to punish them.”
More: Reds wingers get rave reviews | Six Reds get England call |