Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed today that his side have no new injuries heading into the crucial match with Manchester United.
Philippe Senderos and Robin van Persie remain unavailable due to respective back and knee injuries, but Wenger will have a virtual full-strength squad at his disposal for the visit of United. Baring in mind the side that was sent out against Sheffield United in midweek I’m quite confident that Arsenal will start with same lineup from the Liverpool match. Some suggestions have been made that Eduardo da Silva or even Lassana Diarra should be given an opportunity against Manchester United but I’ve always been of the opinion that you should not change a winning team and taking that into account, I can’t see any changes being made from the side that started last weekend.
One of the players who I feel will be very important to Arsenal’s success tomorrow is Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor. Surprisingly, he revealed today that he was approached by Manchester United in the summer and also spoke about how he is hoping to repeat the winner he scored against the same opponents at Old Trafford last season.
“I don’t know if what prompted United’s interest was my winner at Old Trafford. But I hope to do that again on Saturday.”
Interesting stuff. Arseblogger mentioned today that he thought Adebayor may have told a little fib about United’s interest but I’m not so sure; at Old Trafford last season he was absolutely immense and would no doubt have impressed Alex Ferguson. Adebayor does tend to score important goals in important matches and although his primary job tomorrow will be to hold up the ball and bring the attacking midfielders into the game, I wouldn’t bet against him scoring against United.
Going onto the match, I really think that Arsenal are going to win and I went into great detail as to why I think this is the case in yesterday’s post. In short I just feel that the home side’s defence is perfectly suited to nullify the United attack while on the other hand I don’t really feel that the away side’s defence is suited to stop the Arsenal attack. There was quite a bit of criticism of yesterday’s post and one reader who certainly didn’t agree with my prediction was Manchester United fan ‘Ronaldo7’. He subsequently sent me a little article with his thoughts on tomorrow’s clash and I decided to include it in today’s post to give readers an insight into how the opposition supporters might be feeling going into this one. It’s an interesting read, and I’d encourage all Arsenal readers of the blog to let him know what you think.
“This is what we have been waiting for, the battle of one versus two. The battle of the two best attacking teams in the premiership, maybe even the world. Arsenal vs United. Could this be the game where Arsenal prove to be the real deal, or will it be the game where United strike fear into the premiership by toppling Arsenal off the peak of the table?
“As a United fan I have watched the majority of their matches this year. First off I was worried to say the least. We weren’t playing great but we were winning. Since then, things seemed to have clicked and clicked at the right time. There is a saying, ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’. In saying this I have been keeping a close eye on Arsenal and I will tell you why and how I believe Manchester United will overcome the slick passing of this youthful Arsenal side.
“We will start with the wings. I feel Arsenal look at there best when Clichy gets forward. Not only does he add much needed width to the side but he is also a natural left-footer. Arsenal don’t have a natural left-winger and it seems that their wingers (Rosicky or Hleb) tend to drift into the middle of the park to the area that they feel more comfortable in. However, with the likes of Ronaldo streaming forward utilising his aggressive style of attack, I don’t think that Clichy will have the space or time to get forward. As such I really feel that United’s strength will be the flanks.
“Arsenal’s strengths are very obvious – their midfield has got some great ball players. Fabregas has been in sensational form this season and he is one player I admire above everyone else in this Arsenal side. He has it all. I can say at the moment that he is one of the top three midfielders in the world. Sir Alex Ferguson will give Owen Hargreaves a job to do and that will be to try and cut out the lovely passing and now goal scoring ability of Fabregas. I think it will be an excellent battle.
“With the loss of Scholes and Carrick, Anderson will partner Hargreaves in the middle of the park. To me Scholes is a massive loss to United. Anderson is Anderson, Hargreaves is Hargreaves, but Scholes is of another class and he will be sorely missed in such a big game. Similarly, Arsenal have lost van Persie. To me these are equal losses to both sides so there can be no excuses for either side at the end of the day. Arsenal will miss van Persie because of his ability to add that extra goalscoring touch to a Arsenal team that sometimes struggle to get the tangible rewards that their football deserves.
“With the movement and form of Rooney and Tevez I really feel that United have at least two goals in them. In saying that, my feeling is that Arsenal only have one. With the great partnership of Ferdinand and Vidic I feel they can hold out Adebayor and whoever partners him on the day. It was clear that Adebayor got the better of Ferdinand last season but I hope the defender has learnt from that and will come out on top this weekend.
“If Arsenal are to win they will need an in-form Hleb to step up. Hleb has some of the best technical ability I have seen in a player but I’m not sure he’ll be able to have an impact in such a quick-tempo game. And I will tell you now, United wont be letting Hleb run around like Slavia or even Liverpool did.
“So there we have it. United have the width and speed and Arsenal have the ball-playing intelligence. This is sure to be a great match and I’m confident that both teams will produce some slick attacking football. I feel the experience and the class players United have will get see them finish on top but it will be difficult at The Emirates. For those who haven’t been watching United play, you will be very impressed with Tevez. His intelligence, movement and ability to link up with Rooney has been eye-catching and I feel he may be the key to a United victory.
“My tip will be a 2-1 win to United with a late, late winner to decide the game.”
The final word
So there you have it; ‘Ronaldo7’ thinks Manchester United will be the winners. I mentioned earlier that I am very, very confident about Arsenal winning this match and I’m going with a prediction of 2-0. For Arsenal to win this one every member of the team is going to have to do their bit but I’m confident that they can. The defence has a really solid look about it with William Gallas back in the side and Manuel Almunia finally nailing down his position in goals. Up front the trio of Cesc Fabregas, Alexander Hleb and Adebayor are the keys and I feel they will get the goals to win the match.
This will be the last post before the game, so I look forward to commenting on an Arsenal win in a couple of days time. Whatever the outcome, it should be an absolute cracker.
What do you think?
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