Carrick: Gunners out for revenge
The Barclays Premier League giants meet at the Emirates Stadium for the first time since that astonishing 8-2 triumph for United in August. And the sheer magnitude of that scoreline may be a factor in the Gunners' approach.
"Maybe," said Carrick when asked if Arsenal would be out for revenge in an exclusive interview on the Betfair Facebook page. "They didn't start the season too well but they are still up there. Arsenal against Manchester United is always a massive game. They will want to win and so will we."
It is not so much a case of the Red Devils wanting to win. By the time they kick-off, it might be a clear case of having to.
If Manchester City overcome Tottenham in the other title crunch taking place on Sunday, United will be six points adrift of a team that will only get stronger once Yaya and Kolo Toure return from African Nations Cup duty with the Ivory Coast.
"Manchester City have done well," said Carrick. "You have to give them credit. They set an early pace, had a funny Christmas period, and have now bounced back. It's close at the moment, so we want to catch up with them. The bar has been raised this year."
It is a challenge United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will relish.
Now 70, Ferguson claims to have mellowed over the years, a stance the likes of Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville agree with. However, the Scot's temper can quickly boil over if he feels his team are not reaching the performance levels he demands.
And Nani, on his day a world-class talent but infuriatingly inconsistent, knows he irritates his boss more than most.
"I get it a lot, it's normal," the Portuguese winger said. "He expects more from me, so sometimes he comes to me and says something."
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