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Page last updated at 23:05 GMT, Saturday, 11 December 2010

Old Trafford is no longer intimidating - Nasri

Barclays Premier League
Venue: Old Trafford Date: Monday, 13 December Kick-off: 2000 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on Sky Sports 1; listen on BBC Radio 5 live and local radio; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles


Samir Nasri
Nasri has been one of Arsenal's star performers in recent weeks

Arsenal's Samir Nasri claims Old Trafford has lost its fear factor ahead of his side's Premier League visit to Manchester United on Monday night.

The Gunners are top of the table on goal difference from Manchester City, with United a further point behind.

But Nasri believes the current United team lacks the same aura of past teams.

"Manchester United is not the same team as before, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Tevez it was a little bit scary to play at Old Trafford," he said.

"Now I don't think offensively they are the same as before, but still they are a good team and when they are 1-0 up it is very hard to beat them.

"We will see, but we are really confident to get a result out of this game."

Fletcher ready for Arsenal threat

Although both managers Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson have attempted to defuse the tension ahead of Monday's showdown, Nasri's remarks come after United defender Patrice Evra claimed earlier this week that the Gunners were in crisis.

"We could lose to them but then what? There is nothing [for them], there will be no trophy, nothing," said Evra.

"Arsenal are a great club but it has been five years since they won anything and that for me is a crisis."

Arsenal last won at Old Trafford in September 2006 but they have won five times away from home this season - including an impressive 3-0 victory at Manchester City.

"The difference when we play away is that we defend much better. Our discipline and shape is more efficient when we play away," Nasri added.

"I am quite confident because we can play our game and we know we can score at any moment away.

"We have to reproduce this kind of game at home and to be more efficient at home as well."

It is not the first time Evra has questioned Arsenal's credentials, saying after United's victory over them in the 2009 Champions League semi-finals that "it was 11 men against 11 babies, we never doubted ourselves".

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Since Wenger became Gunners boss in 1996, his side have won three Premier League titles, the last of which was in 2004, and four FA Cups. They also reached the Champions League final in 2006 and the final of the League Cup in 2007.

But in the last six years Wenger's youthful side have won only the 2005 FA Cup, while United in the same period can lay claim to three Premier League crowns, three League Cups and one Champions League trophy.

"Arsenal is a training centre," Evra told French television station Canal Plus. "I watch them play and enjoy it but will they win the title? That's what people remember.

"When you play against Arsenal it is a lot of fun. They are a team that play football. They won't come to Old Trafford and put 11 men behind the ball.

"The difference is we play football but also have power. Sometimes they don't kill matches off while we are more efficient.

"Our real enemy is Chelsea. We are more concerned with Chelsea's results than Arsenal's, even if we know Arsenal are a great team who can beat Chelsea, us or anyone."

Wenger stopped short of directly condemning his fellow Frenchman, saying he would leave others to judge whether Evra had transgressed.

"Personally, I believe if you are a big player you always respect your opponent and that is what we try to do," said Wenger.

"We do not want to go into any unneeded talking before a game like that.

"We want to focus on the way we want to play and ignore any provocation."

The comments come after a more convivial atmosphere to the build-up earlier in the week.

Ferguson called for his team's supporters not to repeat the offensive chanting that has been aimed at his Arsenal counterpart on some of his previous appearances at Old Trafford.

But Wenger remains philosophical about the possibility of more personal abuse.

"You know what happened over the years. I believe in individual responsibility of what you do in life," he said.

"I cannot master 70,000 or 80,000 people. I try to do my job, that is all."

Club captain Cesc Fabregas's recovery from a hamstring injury will be assessed shortly before kick-off, but Wenger said he will not take "an unreasonable gamble" on the midfielder's fitness.

United have been near-faultless on their own turf in the 2010-11 campaign, winning seven and drawing one of their eight home Premier League games.

But a return of only one victory and six draws from seven away fixtures has left them a point adrift of Arsenal, albeit with a game in hand.

United's trip to Blackpool last Saturday was cancelled because of a frozen pitch, so this will be their first league outing since the 7-1 thrashing of Blackburn on 27 November.

Ferguson has confirmed that Evra, centre-back Rio Ferdinand and central midfielder Paul Scholes should be fit.

Defensive duo Jonny Evans and Wes Brown had been struggling with a virus but they are also in contention.

Anders Limpar celebrates scoring for Arsenal in 1990

Archive 1990 - Arsenal win bad-tempered match



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see also
Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal
13 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Alan Hansen on Arsenal's big test
10 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Gibbs ruled out of Man Utd match
09 Dec 10 |  Arsenal
Wenger hits back in snood debate
10 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Scholes doubtful for Arsenal game
08 Dec 10 |  Man Utd
Arsenal 3-1 Partizan Belgrade
08 Dec 10 |  Europe
Man Utd 1-1 Valencia
07 Dec 10 |  Europe


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