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Wenger's men will provide guard of honour for champions; EMIRATES 4pm tomorrow ARSENALv MAN UTD.

ARSENE WENGER said there was never a possibility of Arsenal refusing to hold a guard of honour for new Barclays Premier League champions Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow.

Former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie can expect a hot reception in north London, where passions still run high among some supporters over the manner in which the Holland forward left last summer in a PS24m move.

There have been suggestions those disgruntled fans will turn their backs in protest when the teams come out of the tunnel.

Wenger, though, insisted the club were right to follow tradition.

United performed a guard of honour themselves in 2005 for Chelsea, who then returned the gesture two years later. The Blues also honoured Arsenal when they visited Highbury back in 1991.

"When you work somewhere abroad, you have to respect the culture of the country. That is part of the tradition of English football and I want that to be respected," said Wenger.

The Frenchman hopes van Persie's return will not overshadow the importance of his side producing the required result as they look to close in on a top-four Premier League finish which would secure Champions League qualification.

"I am looking forward to our performance on Sunday more than anything else. You focus on your own team and it's an interesting opportunity for us to achieve something special on Sunday. We want to take this opportunity," he said.

With United having already secured the title, there have been suggestions Arsenal's job has been made somewhat less taxing.

Wenger, though, insisted his men must not focus on any perceived weakness of the opposition.

He said: "What we know is that no matter in what state Man United will be, we will need a great performance to beat them and that's what we want to focus on."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 27, 2013
Words:304
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