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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes drawing Arsenal in the FA Cup is ‘fantastic’ for his Manchester United side. The two most successful clubs in the competition’s history will clash at the Emirates Stadium next month after both eased through their third round ties against lower league opposition. Arsenal drew 2-2 with United at Old Trafford last month, but the picture has changed dramatically since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho on an interim basis and the Norwegian is looking forward to locking horns with a familiar rival.
‘Fantastic,’ said Solkskjaer reacting to the draw. ‘We need these games. These players need the big games to be challenged. ‘Of course, everyone says we’ve won the last five games but [they have] not been [against] big opposition. But you can only beat the teams you play and, for us to get tested and go to the next level, you need those games. ‘And if you want to win the FA Cup, you have to beat everybody.’
Solskjaer was part of the United side which won a momentous FA Cup semi final replay against Arsenal at Villa Park in 1999 on the way to claiming the treble, a memory he still cherishes. ‘Maybe one of the best FA Cup memories was against Arsenal at Villa Park when Peter [Schmeichel] saved that penalty towards the end and Giggsy’s dribble [for the winner],’ added Solskjaer. ‘If they’d have beaten us, if Peter hadn’t saved the penalty, I think they probably would have gone on to win the Double and pipped us to the league. So I think that save of Peter’s was the catalyst for the Treble.’