EXCLUSIVE Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg: I want ‘proper rivalrly and proper battles back with Manchester United’
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Modest Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg has been speaking exclusively to the Islington Gazette ahead of the Gunners visit to Old Trafford to play Manchester United. Read on for the icon sharing his memories of this fixture with Layth Yousif.
With Unai Emery’s Arsenal travelling north to take on Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils on Wednesday evening the much-loved Swede has been recalling the times when he played against the north-west giants.
The much-loved former Gunners midfielder who won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups spoke after his U21 side bowed out of the Checkatrade Trophy after losing 2-1 at Portsmouth on Tuesday evening.
Ljungberg has been tasked with developing the crop of talented youngsters at the club took time out from his busy schedule to recall the days when Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger’s sides of the late 1990s and early 2000s clashed in a number of memorable matches.
Ljungberg who also runs the Arsenal U23 side said: “My favourite game against Manchester United has to be when we went to Old Trafford in 2002 and won the Premier League by beating them 1-0. That was a good memory.
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“I hope we can get that rivalry going again with United where it’s a proper rivalry up there, a proper game and a proper battle.
“There was a lot of great games but if you’re talking away from home then of course it was a nice feeling to win the league up there, then you have some clips on social media where we lost our unbeaten run which wasn’t so good.
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“I’m really looking forward to it, I wish we could have qualified [against Portsmouth] so I could have sat and watched it all relaxed.
“I have been lucky and I have nice memories – but at the same time I live in the now.
“If somewhere I meet an old teammate then we talk about it – but I try not to bore people with my old stories. Of course I enjoyed my career but that’s over now and I’m here now.”
Rising managerial star Ljungberg has made a good start on his return to North London is looking forward to the clash after the North Londoners travel up the M6 boosted by their excellent 4-2 victory in a dramatic derby against bitter rivals Spurs on Sunday.
The derby day triumph over Spurs impressive the Swede after the result saw Emery’s side rise to fourth place – eight points and four positions ahead of United.
The popular 41-year-old reflected on Sunday, adding: “We did really well. It was a massive game on Sunday,
“I thought it was like the old days where it was a nice little derby and a bit of tension and we played some really nice football.”
See the Islington Gazette for more from Freddie Ljungberg later this week. Fore comprehensive coverage from Old Trafford follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29.