Arsenal vs United isn't just about me vs RVP, insists Rooney
Published 21:55 20/01/12 By David McDonnell
Wayne Rooney claims he did not realise the significance of August’s 8-2 thrashing of Arsenal until after the match.
The Manchester United striker, who scored a hat-trick as the Gunners suffered their worst defeat for more than a century, said: “We knew it was a great day for us and a bad one for them.
“To beat Arsenal 8-2, with the players they have, the history of the club and the manager, it was a great result. In some ways a shock.
“You’re just in a zone during the game. Every time we went forward we seemed to be creating chances or scoring.
“It’s only afterwards that you realise what a win it was. I’m pretty sure it won’t be like that again on Sunday.”
Rooney was imperious in that game, but since then Arsenal have regrouped and recovered, largely thanks to the goalscoring exploits of Robin van Persie.
And Rooney will not mind being overshadowed by Van Persie on Sunday – as long as United beat Arsenal.
The two players have 39 goals between them this season and are in the running for the Golden Boot, awarded to the Premier League’s top marksman.
But Rooney is happy to let Van Persie steal the show at the Emirates Stadium, provided Sir Alex Ferguson’s men claim three points to keep the pressure on league leaders Manchester City.
“Arsenal have been doing well and Van Persie has scored a lot of goals,” said Rooney.
“There are a lot of top strikers in the league – Van Persie, Sergio Aguero and Yakubu are playing well.
“But Sunday isn’t about me and Van Persie. It’s about us against Arsenal. That’s what we’ll be focusing on.
“Van Persie is playing really well. He’ll be the biggest threat for Arsenal on Sunday. He and Aaron Ramsey are certainly the two who have stood out for them this season.”
Rooney has scored 10 goals against Arsenal in 20 games, and despite the north Londoners trailing United by 12 points, Rooney said they could yet have a say in the outcome of the title race.
He refused to rule out the chance of Wenger’s side mounting a late charge, saying: “I wouldn’t write Arsenal off. They’re capable of going on a big run, so are Chelsea.
“I still think us, City and Tottenham are the three favourites. But Chelsea and Arsenal could still have a big say in it.
“Tottenham and City are both new to the challenge of the league. In previous years it’s been Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all the time.
“But it’s great for the league that so many teams can win it now.”
SUNDAY MAY NOT BE ROONEY VS VAN PERSIE, BUT THIS IS...
(Premier League only)
ROONEY VAN PERSIE
19 Appearances 21
1,551 Minutes on pitch 1,804
13 Goals 18
119 Mins per goal 100
38 Shots On Target 45
30 Shots Off Target 33
56% Shooting Accuracy 58%
19% Chance Conversion 23%
22 Blocked Shots 19
3 Goal Assists 5
31 Chances created 48
50 Mins per chance 38
946 Total Passes 575
82 Pass Completion % 78
33 Dribbles & Runs 42
64 Dribble Completion % 60