Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal to forget poor recent record at Old Trafford

Mikel Arteta has told his Arsenal players to shed any inferiority complex when they visit Old Trafford on Sunday and aim for a win that would consolidate their position as Premier League leaders. On paper a meeting with Manchester United, who have recovered from a woeful start to win their past three games under Erik ten Hag, is the most daunting assignment of Arsenal’s season to date.

They are yet to drop a point but have won just once at the Red Devils’ home since 2006. That was two seasons ago but last December they reverted to type, losing 3-2 despite entering the game in good form and taking an early lead.

Arteta wants to ensure his team do not feel cowed. “I wouldn’t like any of our players feeling that way because they’re good enough to go there and win the match and I think we have the belief that can happen,” he said. “If not, it’s better to stay at home.”

The continued absences through injury of Mohamed Elneny, who will be out for a number of months, and Thomas Partey will complicate matters and Oleksandr Zinchenko is unlikely to return from a knock. Arsenal tried to sign Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa on deadline day to ease the midfield burden but were unsuccessful; Arteta said there were no regrets and that he would go with the tools at his disposal.

“We have to bring in the players we feel are right for the team and the club, but we didn’t manage to do that,” he said. “[With] what happened in the last week or so, probably everybody was expecting we could do something with the departures we had. We cannot forget what we did early. We are happy with the squad we have. The board has pushed the boat very, very far to accommodate the situation we have.”

Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus, who has already scored three times, were signed from Manchester City earlier in the window and Arteta believes that has been to Arsenal’s advantage. “What I can guarantee you is it helps,” he said. “When you know the players, when you know what you can expect from them, and they come in and show such an attitude and perform straight away, there is an impact.”

Albert Sambi Lokonga impressed in Wednesday’s win over Villa and Arteta explained the solution to the lack of numbers would be to trust in players such as the young Belgian. “Believe more in the players that we have, look after them better and give them confidence,” he said. “They have the ability to do it and that’s what we’ll do.”

Aaron Ramsdale and Martin Ødegaard will be assessed after sustaining knocks in the Villa game.