Erik ten Hag is not one to downplay his team or its strengths. The Dutchman aims to win no matter who we are up against, which is how he built two successful Ajax teams during his time at the Eredivisie club. Manchester United take on league leaders Arsenal this weekend and the odds are against us.
Last weekend’s Manchester Derby is a perfect example of that. United went into the game after being thrashed at the Etihad in the first fixture between the two sides this season and most would have favoured another City win.
Ten Hag set the record straight at Old Trafford, with a 2-1 win that the media saw as being enough to drag us into the title race conversation. It was our ninth win in a row, but we are still 11 games unbeaten.
A trip to Selhurst Park ended that winning run as Crystal Palace secured a point thanks to a late free-kick. Considering how far we’ve come this season, I don’t think we should dwell too long on that result and that is why Ten Hag is rallying up his troops to face Arsenal.
Casemiro’s suspension is a big blow for United – but we’ve already beaten Arsenal without the Brazilian this season. That said, I think we were lucky to beat the Gunners at Old Trafford.
On Sunday, we need to perform better.
When asked about Casemiro missing the trip, Ten Hag told reporters: “We beat last time Arsenal without Casemiro. We have an idea of how to do it (again), yeah.”
Ten Hag credited Arsenal and the progress they are making under Arteta, adding:
“It is obvious they are in a really good run and I think they deserve the position where they are now.
“It’s a really good structure, how they play. There’s a really good mentality, winning attitude in that team. That’s why they are top of the list.
“So, they are in a great run but it is up to us to beat that run and we will do everything to do that.”
Ten Hag went on to claim that he is not surprised that Arsenal are leading the pack in the Premier League this season.
“In the moment we played them, you could already see that the manager with his coaching staff was for a long time already working on that team.
“You see really good structures in the team and I think they even improved during the first half of the season.
“There is a really good spirit as well in that team, so we know what to do. We have to be really good. We need a really good performance.
“But if we do, I think we have a good chance also to get out of that performance a good result.”