Date: 2nd January 2006 at 1:36pm
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Freddie Ljungberg reckons the tie between Arsenal and Manchester United at Highbury tomorrow will be a lot calmer due to the absence of Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane.

There has been a lot of bad blood between the two sides, with a match rarely going off without incident, but Arsenal’s midfielder thinks it will still be a great match, but maybe just not as problematic.

‘It will be a new thing having no Vieira or Keane involved in this game, maybe it will be a little bit more calmer!’

‘But they are special games. There is some history in those games but the reason you are in football is to play in the big games and that is what counts.’

Ljungberg hopes the Gunners players will end their current slump against Man Utd in the league and wants every player to put in a performance.

‘I hope we can all stand up and be counted tomorrow. I do not think about the past games. It is a new season and a new battle, if you want to say that, and for us it is just important to take the three points and close the gap.

‘We have had a good run at home and, if we get a bit of luck, maybe we can get a good start to the game and play really well. That will be the objective.’

The Swede also has the feeling that a good win against the Manchester side will be a springboard for a good run in the league, and into the top four.

‘I look at the Premiership table but we know we have the quality in the team,’ added Ljungberg. ‘The thing we need to do is always be consistent and always on top form with no dips and that is what we are working for.

‘There is nothing in my mind thinking we will not go into the top four. I have been here seven years and we have always been in the Champions League so it is not really in my mind not to be there.

‘It is presently a new situation for all the players because we have always been the top of the table the whole time.

‘It is a new situation where we have to share our experience and try to encourage the younger players.’