Victory over Red Devils will give Gunners title push, says Malaysian fan

Arsenal is leading the English Premier League table by five points, but Malaysian fan Gary Mark Nagan will only think about the title after its matches against Manchester United and Manchester City.

The London club has 47 points from 18 matches, with City second, on 42 from 19 games..United is third on 39 points, one ahead of Newcastle.

It has been 19 years since Arsenal won the title. It came close a couple of times since then, only to self-destruct – and Nagan is wary of celebrating too soon.

English pundit and former Manchester United defender Gary Neville predicted last week that Arsenal would fade away, allowing City and United to finish in the top two.

“We’ll have a better view of Arsenal’s capabilities after the match against United (Monday, 12.30am),” said Nagan, aware that the Gunners have to play City twice before the season ends.

“We also have to play City home and away. Good results in these matches can be an indicator of a title challenge.”

Arsenal’s match against City on Oct 19 was postponed as the former had to play a rearranged Europa League match against PSV Eindhoven.

Queen Elizabeth II’s death on Sept 8 resulted in the postponement of the European tie.

As such, the top two clubs will face off on Feb 16 and April 27. They also meet in the fourth round of the FA Cup next Saturday.

Nagan, 45, said Arsenal’s sheer energy, tenacity and hunger to press and harass the opponents, have been a sheer joy to watch this season.

He credits the board for sticking with Mikael Arteta after the team missed out on qualifying for the Champions League last season.

“Arteta is a superb manager, a good motivator and has an eye for detail. He also brings out the best in his players,” said the corporate communications manager with a multi-national insurance company.

“That is why I predict a 2-0 victory over United.”

Asked why he started supporting Arsenal, Nagan said it was after Arsene Wenger joined the club in 1996.

The Frenchman, although an unknown at the time, moulded an exciting, attacking team, mixing the flair of Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars with the physical presence of Patrick Vieira.

“It culminated with The Invincibles from the 2003-2004 season where Arsenal finished the league season unbeaten,” said Nagan, who hopes to one day visit Emirates Stadium.

“That was the best memory or proudest moment supporting the club. No club has managed to do that since.”

Besides Arsenal, Preston North End – 1888-1889 – is the only other English club to finish the season undefeated, but it went one step further by also winning the FA Cup.

FIXTURES (Malaysian time)

Liverpool vs Chelsea (8.30pm)
Leicester vs Brighton (11pm)
Southampton vs Aston Villa (11pm)
West Ham vs Everton (11pm)
Bournemouth vs Nottingham Forest (11pm)

Crystal Palace vs Newcastle (1.30am)
Manchester City vs Wolves (10pm)
Leeds vs Brentford (10pm)

Arsenal vs Manchester United (12.30am)

Fulham vs Tottenham (4am)

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