Manchester United vs Arsenal: Match Preview
It has been quite a week so far with consecutive Chelsea – Manchester United games, both being edge of the seat encounters. This weekends Premier League clash witnesses another enthralling game between the Red Devils and the Gunners. Both of them were involved in a goal fest while playing in the Capital One cup against Reading and Chelsea respectively. The focal point of the game would obviously be Dutch striker Robin van Persie who made a move to Old Trafford during the summer after spending eight fruitful years with the club. Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has asked the fans to “show respect” to Van Persie when he faces his old club for the first time on Saturday.
Every game between Arsenal and United has been nothing but entertaining. Dating back to the wonder goal by Henry at Highbury and the famous tunnel fight between Patrick Viera and Roy Keane, this game always lives up to the hype. United are unbeaten against the gunners at Old Trafford since 2007. The last encounter saw United tearing Arsenal apart with a convincing 8-2 victory with Wayne Rooney scoring a hattrick. Rooney is also the top scorer for the Red devils netting 8 times against the Gunners. In fact, his first ever goal came in an Everton shirt against Arsenal. He also played a key role in bringing the 49 match unbeaten run of the Gunners to an end.
Sir Alex who rested most of his first team players against the Capital One cup against Chelsea will be without Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa who has a knee injury. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are on their way to recovery but won’t be featuring in this game. Van Persie is expected to partner Wayne Rooney in attack with the Mexican Javier Hernandez in the bench. The Red Devils are widely expected to employ 4-4-1-1 formation with Rooney playing in the hole. Tom Cleverly will get back to the center of midfield alongside Michael Carrick as Ashley Young may get the nod over Nani, who looks to be on his way out of OT.
As for the Gunners, Ivorian attacker Gervinho, midfielder Abou Diaby and left back Kieron Gibbs will not be featuring in this clash due to injuries. Long term absentee Tomas Rosicky is still out with an injured tendon. Theo Walcott, who was instrumental in the victory against Reading during the midweek Capital One Cup clash may get a call and start up front with Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla. Carl Jenkinson, who was sent off during the previous meeting at Old Trafford has improved a lot this season as right back may get a nod over Bacari Sagna with Andre Santos starting in the left side of defense. Other notable absentees include, keeper Wojciech Szczesny and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney seem to have formed a lethal combination up front for United with nine goals between them. Chicharito is back to his goal scoring best after putting up a string of impressive performances over the last two weeks. Rafael ,who has featured in 13 of the total 14 games that United played so far, has been the stand out performer for United in defense. Arsenal would like to capitalize on the shaky United defense which has just three clean sheets this season. They can count on Spaniard Santi Cazorla to come up with some magic in midfield. He is already having two assists to his name so far and his pass finds the intended target 90 percent of the time.
Expected Line up:
Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Cleverly, Carrick, Young, Rooney, Van Persie
Arsenal: Mannone, Jenkison, Mertasacker, Vermaelen, Santos, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshire, Cazorla, Podolski, Walcott
Similar to the Red devils, Arsenal also have a not so impressive defensive record this season with just four clean sheets. Their vulnerability was visible in the Champions league game against Schalke when they lost by two goals. On the whole, the fire power that the Manchester United possess may just be too hot for Arsenal to handle.
Manchester United 3-1 Arsenal