Arsene Wenger does not expect his old nemesis Jose Mourinho to “park the bus” when Manchester United visit Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Arsenal made it five wins from their past six Premier League matches with a 5-0 thrashing of Huddersfield Town on Wednesday.
Victory at the weekend would close the Gunners to within a point of second-place United but Mourinho’s side have proved a tough nut to crack this term – conceding a league low eight goals.
United’s approach in big games this season, particularly their dour 0-0 draw against Liverpool at Anfield in October, has brought criticism Mourinho’s way but Wenger expects an attractive game against a man he finally beat in the league at the 13th time of asking last season.
“Man United are doing well at the moment, we are doing well at the moment so it looks to be a promising game,” Wenger told reporters before being asked whether Mourinho would revert to a now infamous tactic.
“I don’t expect anything special,” he said. “Man United are a strong team. I expect us to be ready to recover now and just to cope with the problems they will give us.
“They will attack as well, they will not only defend.
“I haven’t seen them a lot [this season] and it’s not down to me to judge the way they play. I just have to look at the way we play and prepare for the game well.
“They are a dangerous team, they make fantastic results. To beat a team like that you need to be at your best and that’s what I want to focus on.”
Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring against Huddersfield but will miss the United match after suffering a groin strain.
Fellow forward Alexis Sanchez was withdrawn with a minor hamstring complaint but Wenger expects him to recover in time.
Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are out of contract at the end of the season with the January transfer window approaching and United have been linked to a move for the Germany playmaker.
“That’s all speculation. You cannot interfere with that,” Wenger said.
“There is only one way to show how much you are committed and that is your attitude on the pitch.
“When you see Mesut Ozil play, one thing you cannot question is the way he wants to play for the team.”