Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has played down the absence of Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Saturday’s Premier League clash, delivering a reminder that Marcus Rashford made the difference at Old Trafford last season.
Ibrahimovic has found the net six times in 11 league appearances this campaign but will be reduced to the role of spectator this weekend because of a suspension for picking up five yellow cards.
The Swede’s unavailability may force United boss Jose Mourinho to turn to teenager Rashford, who has been handed just six Premier League starts by the Portuguese.
Rashford has three Premier League goals to his name this term and has fond memories of playing Arsenal, the 19-year-old bursting onto the scene in the corresponding fixture back in February as he followed up a double against Midtjylland with another brace in a 3-2 defeat of the Gunners.
Arsenal can at least temporarily move to the top of the league with a win but Wenger does not believe that task will be made easier by Ibrahimovic’s ban.
“We have as well players out, let’s not forget that last year the guy who killed us was Rashford,” Wenger added.
“I watched him against the Danish team and he scored, I could see right away that he could be dangerous. He took everybody by surprise.
“In 2016 we lost one away game [in the league] in the whole year and that was at Old Trafford, that was a key game for us, we did not respond with the quality of performance on the day. We want to focus on that, what will be important for me is to respond with a strong performance.”