United fired up for Gunners clash

Last updated : 08 February 2003 By Martyn Elliott

O'Brien celebrates at Highbury
Sir Bobby

"Now we have what can only be described as a wonderful game with Arsenal.

"And if we win it perhaps then people will say that we are contenders for the championship.

"The players were terribly disappointed that our game with Middlesbrough was called off last Saturday after the result they got at Spurs the previous Wednesday night.

"But I've watched them closely in training this week and I can see how much they are up for Sunday's game and I can feel that they are highly motivated.

"Yes it's going to be a tough match for us but we are going to try and make it tough for them.

"Along with Manchester United they are in pole position but I am expecting one heck of a duel on Sunday."

Alan Shearer

"At our best we can beat anyone, certainly at home.

"Victory against an Arsenal side I predicted would win the title and Champions League, plus the three points this would bring, would really set our February off in style.

"At the same time it would give the manager something to celebrate, as it will be the last league game we will play before his 70th birthday.

"What a perfect early present for Bobby it would be if we could pick up these three points.

"But it will be tough against a very good side.

"Tactically, it is going to be another intriguing battle between us.

"The might of World Cup winner Vieira against the youthful exuberance of Jermaine Jenas and Kieron Dyer will be worth the admission money alone.

"But then the pace of our flying Welshman, Craig Bellamy, versus the strength and physical presence of England's Sol Campbell at the heart of Arsenal's defence should also be an outstanding battle.

"While Arsenal, with Henry and Dennis Bergkamp at their best, have the firepower to destroy any side in Europe, we have our own in-form talent in Bellamy."

Kieron Dyer

"If we beat Arsenal I don't think there is any doubt about the fact we will be regarded as serious title contenders.

"With everyone at the top of their game, we can beat anybody in the Premiership, especially at fortress St James' Park."

Nikos Dabizas

"To tell the truth, I was never 100 per cent convinced that Bergkamp meant to do what he did.

"But if he did, then this was a wonderful world class goal from a player who can only be described as a genius.

"And it goes without saying that I would love to be out there on Sunday to face Bergkamp and Arsenal.

"We all want to play on Sunday as this is our biggest game of the season against the team which I feel is the best team in the country.

"Now we will see how we play against them and we know this is a key match for us. I don't know whether it is realistic for us to win the Premiership but it has got to be at the back of our minds at least.

"We have got to think positive. We qualified for the Champions League but we have got to be looking to do better because you have got to keep moving forward in this game."

Robert makes it three at Highbury
Laurent Robert

"The postponement of the Middlesbrough game means we have a very busy time coming up.

"But we must concentrate on Arsenal as we have the chance on inflicting a huge blow on them and we must not waste this chance.

"If we beat Arsenal at St James's Park we would strengthen our position in the league. After Manchester United beat Birmingham on Tuesday we're now five points behind them with a game in hand.

"We need to win to keep up with them and we must look to take the three points on Sunday."

They don't like losing!
Nobby Solano

"We are professionals and we cannot let the postponed game affect us. We have had a longer break with the game at Boro being off but we are preparing well for the Arsenal match.

"We have an excellent record at home and we go into every match with confidence.

We know they are an excellent team with many good players, but we are on a good run and we know that if we can get the three points we can keep in touch with them."