The moment the 2012/13 Premier League season schedule was released, I'm sure Manchester United's November 3rd match against Arsenal stood out like a sore thumb to Robin van Persie. As an Arsenal fan, it was the first match date I searched for as I scrolled down the Gunners' schedule on Arsenal Player. I know I wasn't the only one to do it, I'm sure there were a lot of United followers who did the same.
The pressure is on Van Persie and United to win over Arsene Wenger's club. Van Persie usually plays his best when he's under pressure, which I've seen so many times when he was Arsenal's striker. Is Van Persie pressure good or bad for Arsenal? Probably bad. United will give the Dutchman the ball when he wants it, it will be up to the Gunners' defense to keep his attempts out of the goal. Arsenal's current goalkeeper Laurent Koscielny is playing fine, but I really wish they had a more experienced keeper for this mega match.
Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla have to want this victory more than anything. You know they looked the Manchester United date up about as fast as Van Persie and I did. Podolski and company know that the game on Saturday is a statement match that could give the lift the Gunners have needed lately. If Arsenal were to lose to United they will tumble down the Premier League Table and have a more difficult time trying to catch up to the leaders.
Every player on both sides will be anxious when this match begins. I bet there will be a lot of high emotions and aggressive play that'll make this game a thrilling one.
All eyes will be on Van Persie the entire time he's on the pitch. That sort of attention doesn't seem to affect a player of his caliber. Van Persie likes the big spotlight, the enormous match; I'm sure it's one of the reasons he chose to go to United. Manchester United does have a history of hosting big, Premier League altering matches.
Van Persie also wants to give the fans at Old Trafford a good show. He wants to show the home faithful why he was worth all the money their club dished out for him.
Wenger has called on his club's supporters going to Old Trafford on Saturday to give Van Persie a 'respectful' reception. Wenger is right, but you know it'll be difficult for some Arsenal fans, unfortunately.
David has been an Arsenal and Premier League fan for nearly a decade.