By Phil Gregory
Despite the title being seemingly out of reach, United’s visit to Arsenal still holds some importance for our season. A win here is surely key is we are to try and regain second from Chelsea – I expect them to lose at Old Trafford – and second would represent progress from last season. While the title of runners-up brings no prizes, as long as we are moving forward year on year the wider support will surely back Wenger’s vision and have patience.
On the injury front, Vermaelen is fit to return but “will not play” according to Wenger, so no chance of a bench appearance for the Belgian. Diaby is also out, giving us a largely clean bill of health. United are in a similar situation, and it seems that every Gooners favourite player Fletcher will not be involved.
Sagna Djourou Koscielny Clichy
Walcott Van Persie Nasri
Szcznesy continues in goal, laying down a marker his claim to the number 1 jersey for next season. Despite the return of Vermaelen in the reserves the United game will surely come too soon for him and the back four will likely be unchanged. Further forward, Song and Wilshere shield the midfield with Fabregas playmaking.
Up front it’s very much a case of as you were thanks to the lack of injuries. Van Persie plays through the middle, flanked by Walcott and Nasri.
We’ll probably see United play their usual anti-Arsenal 451, likely something like below given Giggs will be rested according to Ferguson:
Van Der Sar
Rafael Vidic Ferdinand Evra
Valencia Park Anderson Nani
Their back five is certainly solid, there’s no surprises there. The big frustration for United fans is the dearth of creative quality in midfield. While that is true, both Carrick and Anderson can pick a pass and that midfield three is fairly solid. Valencia is an excellent winger and tees up Rooney well from crosses though doesn’t really weigh in with the goals.
Nani on the other flank is the most productive United player this season, right up at the top of the goalscoring and assists charts. He’d have been my pick for player of the season despite being a fairly despicable person on the pitch with antics worthy of Barcelona. That aside, he’s certainly one to be wary of, though I’m happy that he’ll be up against Sagna who is certainly a reliable defender.
United certainly have an effective model for beating Arsenal, we can’t really argue with one win in 11 or whatever the stats are. That said, United are nothing special away from home so there is cause for optimism amongst Gooners. As long as there is a belief that we can win amongst the team we are capable of beating United, though I’m less confident given our recent run of results. That said, I’ll stick my neck out with a 2-1 to the Arsenal.
Untold Arsenal on Facebook here
History of Arsenal including the series on the failures of Herbert Chapman
Making the Arsenal – the book of Arsenal death and rebirth
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- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate