Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra believes the first defeat suffered by table
-topping Arsenal will expose the weaknesses in their armour.
Arsenal have begun the season impressively, winning 12 of their 13 matches in all
competitions and drawing the other one. Sunday's 3-2 victory over Sunderland
was their tenth consecutive win, they are unbeaten in any competition since April
7th - 20 games ago - and in the Premier League this season their seven wins
and one draw from eight games puts them top, two points ahead of Manchester
United with a game in hand.
But Manchester United defender Patrice Evra believes Arsenal are fragile beneath
The French left-back said: â€œThere is no doubt that Arsenal are a stronger side
than they were last season*.
â€œBut I don't think we will know about this Arsenal team this season until they
â€œThat's the important time when you look to see how a team reacts. It is how you
â€œWe know we can do it. We had a difficult start to the season but we have shown
great strength and character and are winning now without conceding any goals.â€
As long as Arsenal are winning, United have to match their results in order to stay
But since they lost at Manchester City on August 19th, that is what United have
been doing: they've won every Premier League game since without letting in a
That is six successive league clean sheets - and one more at Aston Villa on
October 20th will match a club record that dates back to 1924 when they were in
the old Second Division.
Evra said: â€œI have never played with two stronger centre-backs than Rio
Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
â€œThere is a lot of pride in our defensive record. We feel more and more confident
with each game that we are not going to concede.â€
And United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes that the Ferdinand-Vidic
patnership at the heart of United's defence is the best since Steve Bruce and
Gary Pallister were together in the early 1990s.
Pallister himself rates Ferdinand and Vidic highly, saying: â€œThe two of them look
more and more confident with each game.
â€œThey can only get better as a partnership. Vidic defends like his life depends on
â€œRio has got that quality and class not only to defend but bring the ball out and
United utility man John O'Shea added: â€œYou cannot ask for two better central
defenders in Europe, in my opinion.
â€œI hope they will stay clear of injury because they have been a major influence on
the team keeping the clean sheets.
â€œFor a defender, keeping a clean sheet is like a striker scoring a couple of goals.
With the attacking quality we have, we know if we keep a clean sheet then nine
times out of 10 we are going to win the game.â€
Evra reckons defending champions United are already looking a better team than
they were last season. He told The Sun: â€œWe are stronger throughout the team
than last season.
â€œAt the end of last season we were struggling with injuries and that was one of
the reasons we lost in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
â€œI think we have the strength not only to win the league this season but do
better in that competition.â€
*Arsenal did the double over Manchester United last season.