| Robin van Persie with David Moyes |
London: Manchester United will be out to make amends after a weekend of damaging result when they meet Arsenal at the Emirates, in the Premier League, on Wednesday.
Arsenal lost top spot in the league after a 1-5 humiliation by a rampant Liverpool at Anfield, with their previously much-praised defence being torn to shreds as they conceded four goals in the first 20 minutes.
Manager Arsene Wenger called the performance “feeble”, and will be hopeful the defeat won’t signal the end of Arsenal’s title hopes as they face a run of matches taking in United, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton by early March.
David Moyes admitted his first season at Old Trafford had hit a new low after United conceded an injury time goal to Darren Bent salvaged a 2-2 draw for bottom club Fulham on Sunday, despite the hosts dominating possession and sending in a remarkable 81 crosses.
United are seventh, 15 points behind leaders Chelsea and nine off Liverpool in the final Champions League qualification spot, and are fast running out of time to salvage their season.
“We have to win all our games,” Moyes told the club website.
“We’ve just got to go into the next game. That’s what happens, you take the team on and you challenge them and we’ve got some good players here. I don’t think there’ll be many teams keen to take on Manchester United.”
Arsenal’s season will not be defined by their thrashing at Liverpool but how they respond to the setback, starting with the visit of Manchester United, Wenger said.
“It’s always a disappointment to lose a game but I think it was an accident because we have been very stable defensively and we have to treat it like that,” he told a news conference.
“We’ve just come back from a ten-game unbeaten run, you cannot consider one game as the trend, the pattern of our season.
“It’s an accident, not welcome of course, a very disappointing one, but a successful season is decided how you respond to that.
Moyes is coming under increasing pressure as the poor results are mounting up, but Wenger, the Premier League’s longest serving manager, offered his support for the beleaguered Scotsman.
“You need time and patience. You need to be in a strong club and I think he will be given time to do it,” he said.
“When a person has been at a club for such a long time, there is always a void created when he goes. I believe that Moyes, if given time, will do that perfectly.”
Meanwhile, Wilfried Zaha on Monday aimed a thinly veiled swipe at Moyes as criticism of the embattled manager continued to escalate.
Zaha, who joined Cardiff City on loan last month, posted a picture of himself and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, the Cardiff manager and former United striker, on Instagram above the words: “Nothing like someone who believes in you”.
When the message sparked widespread debate on social media, Zaha – Ferguson’s final signing as United manager – deleted the post before writing on Twitter that: “my last Instagram picture was not intended as a dig or indirect at my manager, I have nothing but respect...”
Fifth-placed Spurs will be looking to remain in the hunt for a Champions League spot when they travel to Newcastle, while Fulham are the next side in Liverpool’s sights after their five-star effort at Anfield.
Everton will be seeking to bounce back from defeat at Spurs when they host Crystal Palace, City entertain Sunderland and Swansea travel to Stoke.
Defender Per Mertesacker called on Arsenal to summon the spirit they showed after December’s 3-6 loss to Manchester City, when they went on to win six of their next eight matches.
“We feel very bad at the moment, disappointed with our performance right from the start (against Liverpool),” the German told the club website.
“It was just not good enough to compete at that level. Liverpool seemed full of confidence. At the start we were eight points clear of Liverpool so we should have been more confident and more aware of the situation but that wasn’t the case.
“We have the opportunity to respond quickly on Wednesday and we have to remind ourselves what we have done from Man City until now. That is at stake and to show that responsibility for ourselves and for the pride of our club.”