Manchester United v Arsenal

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 3rd November 2012 – KO 12:45 GMT

Referee: M Dean – Assistants: S Ledger and A Garratt – Fourth Official: P Dowd

Manchester United host Arsenal at Old Trafford at lunchtime tomorrow in a fixture that just over a year ago was one of the best wins Manchester United have ever had in the Barclays Premier League. The phrase “I’d 8-2 be an Arsenal fan right now” was born. I am sure it was a pretty tough time for Arsenal fans that day and little would we know only two months later we would have been on the receiving end of a drubbing by a rival, which is still a sore subject for me, something I find hard to forget!

Arsenal have changed this season, they are still an unpredictable side but are also able to bounce back, just like they did against Reading this week after finding themselves 4-0 before the end of the first half. Still they had shown what they can do when under the most pressure possible, a humiliating defeat, and they turned that around. You have to admire their attitudes at turning that deficit around.

Arsene Wenger had his press conference yesterday and has confirmed that they are ravaged with injuries at the moment but no further injuries have been obtained going into this match. Manchester United have a good record against Arsenal at Old Trafford, winning 12 matches and drawing in five and losing only three of them. They have scored a total of 33 goals, conceding just 10!

Sir Alex Ferguson has nearly a full squad to contend with Arsenal with just captain Nemanja Vidic and new signing Shinji Kagawa on the sidelines and defensive duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones both due back for the club very soon, perhaps Smalling might make it on the bench tomorrow, or even against SC Braga in the UEFA Champions League next Wednesday.

One thing is for sure, this is a match that Manchester United need to win in order to keep the pressure on Chelsea who currently lie at the top of the table just one point clear of the Old Trafford club.

Players to watch:

Robin van Persie: The Dutchman is Manchester United’s top scorer in all competitions so far this season scoring nine goals, he has also assisted in 3 league goals. He will want to show his former club what they have lost in his first match against them. He will be respectful to the club he played for but I doubt some (most) of the Arsenal fans will feel the same. Robin will want to continue his clubs current win streak and take points from another London club. If paired with Wayne Rooney I can see some goals flying in Arsenal’s direction.

Wayne Rooney: Wayne has been outstanding since he came back from his injury sustained against Fulham. Him and Robin van Persie certainly know how to pull the strings of the team they are playing against. Their partnership whether both in attack or Rooney playing just behind can be devastating for the opposition defence.

Javier Hernandez: The Mexican striker is on form at the moment after scoring four goals in the last three matches Manchester United have played. He would certainly make a great strike partner for Robin van Persie with Wayne Rooney playing in the hole behind them, that force could be unstoppable at the moment. Arsenal’s defence really need to stop these three should they play together and all keep their form.

Theo Walcott: Theo has scored 7 goals in all competitions for Arsenal this season and bagged himself a hat-trick against Reading on Tuesday evening in the Capital One Cup. Walcott see himself as a replacement for Thierry Henry and at the moment he is getting there. Walcott on form is a great attacking player and added to Arsenal’s new signings, they could easily stun the Manchester United defence on Saturday.

Lukaz Podolski: The replacement for Robin van Persie, had a rough start to the season but has got there. He can be very dangerous on the attack, which Manchester United need to stop. If he can be pinned down he will not be able to cause much damage to his opposition. Sometimes he is a tricky player to stop, which is why Arsene Wenger identified him a RVP’s replacement.

Statistics from both teams last match:

Manchester United shots and passes against Chelsea (FourFourTwo Stats Zone)

Arsenal shots and passes against Queens Park Rangers (FourFourTwo Stats Zone)

Manchester United Statistics:

Based on Barclays Premier League 2012/13 [statistics taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 9 matches, won 7, drawn 0, lost 2 and currently have 21 points
Scored 23 goals (2.67 goals per match) and conceded 13 goals (1.44 goals per match) – 3 were pens
Longest unbeaten streak is 4 match so far
Clean sheet record 22%
Attacking: 131 shots, 100 crosses and 18 offside rulings
Defending: 40 saves were made, 2 own goals, 2 clean sheets, 32 blocks and 66 clearances
Disciplinary: 81 fouls (9 fouls per match), 13 cards

Arsenal Statistics:

Based on Barclays Premier League 2012/13 [statistics taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 9 matches, won 4, drawn 3, lost 2 and currently have 15 points
Scored 12 goals (1.56 goal per match) and conceded 6 goals (0.67 goals per match) – 0 were pens
Longest unbeaten streak is 5 matches
Clean sheet record 44%
Attacking: 139 shots, 57 crosses and 14 offside rulings
Defending: 28 saves were made, 0 own goal, 4 clean sheets, 14 blocks and 50 clearances
Disciplinary: 83 fouls (9.22 fouls per match), 7 cards

Top Scorers (in all competitions):

Manchester United: 9 – Robin van Persie, 5 – Javier Hernandez, 2 – Tom Cleverley, Rafael da Silva, Jonny Evans, Ryan Giggs, Shinji Kagawa, Wayne Rooney, 1 – Luis Anderson, Alexander Büttner, Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra, Luis Nani, Own Goal, Nick Powell, Paul Scholes, Danny Welbeck

Arsenal: 7 – Theo Walcott, 5 – Gervinho, 4 – Lukaz Podolski, 3 – Olivier Giroud, 2 – Santi Cazorla, Marouane Chamakh, Own Goal, 1 – Mikel Arteta, Andrey Arshavin, Laurent Koscielny, Ignasi Miquel, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey

Manchester United Form:

Last six competitive matches: Chelsea – L 5-4, Chelsea – W 3-2, SC Braga – W 3-2, Stoke City – W 4-2, Newcastle United – W 3-0, CFR Cluj – W 2-1

Arsenal Form:

Last six competitive matches: Reading – W 7-5, Queens Park Rangers – W 1-0, Schalke 04 – L 0-2, Norwich – L 1-0, West Ham United – W 3-1, Olympiacos – W 3-1

The amazing scoreline at Old Trafford last season (Getty Images)

Manchester United v Arsenal at Old Trafford:

Played 20 matches at Old Trafford since the Barclays Premier League was first formed:

Manchester United: Won 12, Drawn 5, Lost 3 – Scored 33 goals, conceded 10 goals and kept 11 clean sheets

Arsenal: Won 3, Drawn 5, Lost 12 – Scored 10 goals, conceded 33 goals and kept 6 clean sheets

I’d 8-2 be an Arsenal fan: United celebrating the win last season (ManUtd.com)

Manchester United Squad:

Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson

GK: David De Gea, Anders Lindegaard

DEF: Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Scott Wootton, Alexander Büttner

MID: Antonio Valencia, Anderson, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Nani, Paul Scholes, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Nick Powell, Shinji Kagawa

FOR: Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Robin van Persie, Federico Macheda, Bebe

INJURIES/DOUBTS: Anders Lindegaard (hand), Shinji Kagawa (knee), Nemanja Vidic (knee), Phil Jones (cartilage), Chris Smalling (metatarsal) [injury details taken from PhysioRoom.com]

SUSPENSIONS: N/A [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Arsenal Squad:

Manager: Arsene Wenger

GK: Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski, Vito Mannone

DEF: Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Andre Santos, Sebastien Squillaci, Johan Djourou, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs

MID: Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, Andrey Arshavin, Emmanuel Frimpong, Santi Cazorla

FOR: Ju-Young Park, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Marouane Chamakh, Lukaz Podolski

INJURIES/DOUBTS: Gervinho (ankle/foot), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hip/thigh), Łukasz Fabiański (ankle/foot), Kieran Gibbs (hip/thigh), Abou Diaby (thigh), Wojciech Szczęsny (ankle/foot), Tomáš Rosický (calf/shin) [injury details taken from PhysioRoom.com]

SUSPENSIONS: N/A [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Predicted Formation/Starting XI:

How I think Manchester United will line up against Arsenal (Paul Bienkowski)

Score Prediction:

Manchester United 3 – 1 Arsenal

I really do not think this match will be as easy as the same fixture last season which saw the Red Devils trounce Arsenal 8-2. It was a day that Manchester United supporters thought the league would be coming home for the 20th time easily, but a few months down the line we realised it was going to be tough. The matches between these two clubs over the years have been classics and full of stormy moments, but recently this has calmed, possibly because Arsenal have not been a title contender for a few years now.

By Paul Bienkowski



One Response to “PREVIEW: Manchester United v Arsenal”

  1. Priscus Patrick says:

    I’m sure …….United will win 2 nil