Match Preview – Manchester United vs Arsenal
Two fierce rivals go head-to-head as the Londoners opt to re-find their form after a somehow mediocre performance against QPR last Saturday. The home side however, look to continue their good run in the Premier League and increase the pressure on Chelsea at the top of the table.
If Arsenal win on Saturday they will be on 18 points – which means jumping to 4th place assuming Everton and Spurs struggle. Of course, this is not an easy task as the Gunners do find difficulty at the Theatre of Dreams. Manchester United, however, want to put the pressure on Chelsea and not slip to 3rd place, which means a draw is not acceptable for both sides.
Chris Smalling- The young defender is set to make a return against Arsenal after he suffered from a metatarsal injury which made him miss the pre-season tour.
Of course, the return of Smalling will boost the Reds’ shaky defensive line, but the 22-year-old has had no preparation whatsoever as he was injured prior to the pre-season tour. The young defender showed what he is capable of, but maybe it would be too early to field him in such an important game.
Abou Diaby- It is expected that the French midfielder will make his return against Manchester United. This is a very big boost for Wenger as both Wilshere and Sagna made their long-awaited return against QPR last Saturday.
With the likes of Wilshere, Arteta, Cazorla and Diaby, the midfield is somehow complete. Abou Diaby has shown that when he is ready, the Frenchman is unstoppable.
Manchester United Strengths
Whether we like it or not, Manchester United’s attacking force is one of the best, if not the best in the Premier League. With the likes of Rooney, van Persie, Welbeck and Chicharito, the Red Devils are surely not short of goals.
With Rooney playing in a much more creative role, like back in the days when he partnered Ruud van Nistelrooy up front, it is pretty much the same situation where Rooney plays the more creative role of the two and van Persie bags in the goals.
But of course, don’t forget Chicharito and Welbeck; the Mexican is a typical goal poacher, he can score goals. Give him a chance and he will score. The latter however, is not as lethal in front of goal but he is gifted and has showed us his capability of playing out wide or playing in a deeper role.
Manchester United Weaknesses
The Red Devils’ attacking force may be the best in the League, but their defensive line is shocking. United have conceded 13 goals this season in the Premier League, which averages to 1.4 goals a game.
Vidic is out and expected to return on the 24th of November against QPR. Rafael is really good attacking-wise, but is almost always caught out of position defensively. Due to age, Ferdinand has lost pace and therefore can face problems in stopping the Gunners’ fast players.
Midfield, midfield, midfield. Although Arsenal may have problems with the defensive part of the midfield, their attacking side is the best in the League.
They are not short of creativity; Cazorla, Diaby, Arteta and Wilshere are a quartet of doom and a nightmare for any defence, so that is why they might torment the United defensive line.
Maybe Arsenal has the best attacking midfield in the League, but they are short of goals. Olivier Giroud is slowly finding his form and Podolski is not a striker by nature – which means that Arsenal actually depend on their midfielders to bag in the goals.
The Gunners have only scored 14 goals this season compared to United’s 24 goals. If Giroud gets injured or is out of form on that day, Arsenal WILL find difficulty scoring.
MAN UNITED: WLWWW
MUFC (4-4-2)- De Gea- Rafael- Ferdinand-Evans- Evra- Carrick-Cleverley- Valencia- Young-Rooney- van Persie
Arsenal (4-3-3)- Mannone- Sagna- Koscielny- Vermaelen- Andre Santos- Cazorla- Arteta- Wilshere- Podolski-Walcott- Giroud
Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal
United and Arsenal games are always high-scoring, the Arsenal midfield could test De Gea with a few shots while United’s attacking force could prove too strong for Arsenal’s defence.
Written by Ahmed Assem
Follow him on Twitter @AhmedAssem97