Ryan Giggs: Manchester United will halt Arsenal's title challenge
Ryan Giggs on Friday night scoffed at the idea that Arsenal are favourites for Sunday’s big Barclays Premier League clash at Old Trafford and warned that the title race will only begin in the new year.
Manchester United veteran Giggs, who will be 40 later this month, knows that Arsene Wenger’s leaders will go 11 points clear of the defending champions if they win on Sunday afternoon.
But the Welshman said: ‘Man Utd v Arsenal at Old Trafford and we are underdogs? I wouldn’t say we were underdogs. It is going to be tough but we feel we can defeat anyone at home.’
Giggs has been facing Arsenal for two decades but is not worried about the London club’s lightning start to the season and still believes the 1998 vintage is the best Gunners team he has ever seen.
Speaking at the launch of Manchester United’s official timekeeper, Bulova, yesterday, he said: ‘I think the turn of the year is the time when everyone looks at each other and takes stock of where you are in the league and where you are in the cup competitions and then just kick on from there really.
‘That’s what we have done historically and that is what we want to do this season. We’ve not got off to a great start but slowly we are trying to find a bit of form.
‘The toughest Arsenal team for me personally was the 1997-98 Double-winning team. They just had a bit of everything.’
The Gunners will be hoping for another goalscoring performance from their man of the moment, Aaron Ramsey.
He was their match-winner again on Wednesday with his 11th goal of the campaign for his club as Arsenal snatched a vital Champions League win at Borussia Dortmund, and has blossomed into a world-class performer after Chris Coleman relieved him of his captaincy duties with Wales.
That’s the view of Coleman’s second-in-command, Kit Symons, who believes that Arsenal’s midfielder has been able to focus on his own game after being relieved of the pressure of leadership.
‘Handing the captaincy to Ashley (Williams) has almost freed up Aaron,’ said Symons.
‘It’s not that he was bad at the job but without the armband he has not needed to concentrate on anything else. And he has shown leadership qualities in other ways. He’s prepared to take the ball anywhere on the pitch. His confidence levels have soared.’