Man Utd Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
Just when we thought that Chelsea was going to extend their lead from the chasing pack in yesterday’s game against West Brom, Victor Anichebe popped up with a goal that was celebrated more by Gooners rather than the West Brom faithful. This ultimately means that a win against Manchester United tonight will propel the Gunners back to the summit of the Premier League, and the loss to Liverpool would become a distant memory.For a club of Manchester United’s caliber and pedigree, their performances have been downright shambolic and this is the best time to capitalize on their poor run of form. After making a swift comeback against Fulham on Sunday, the Red Devils had a lapse in concentration that allowed Darren Bent nod home the equalizer at stoppage time. Fulham, a team doomed for a relegation battle this season, parked the bus in Old Trafford and the tactics seemed to be working but goals from You-Know-Who and Michael Carrick handed the initiative to the home side. Like their story has been all season long, they messed up again.
After picking up one point in their last two matches, Manchester United trail second-placed Arsenal by 14 points and have lost their last three away games in all competitions, but for reasons best known to Chuck Norris and Lord Voldemort, this is a fixture where United have a good recent record. Unbeaten in their last five matches against Arsenal and having suffered just one defeat in their previous five visits to Emirates Stadium in all competitions, United know how to grind out results against Arsene Wenger’s men. Arsenal have won just one of the last 10 Premier League games against Manchester United (W1 D2 L7).
Sometimes, they don’t even have to be in good form but they’ll still get a result against the Gunners. Last November, teams were picking points off the defending champions but when the Gunners visited Old Trafford despite being in a rich vein of form, they simply failed to turn up. Arsenal’s last victory against Manchester United in the Premier League was as far back as May 2011, where Aaron Ramsey scored what proved to be the match winner in his return from his long-term leg injury.
The Gunners will have to be weary about its former favorite son, Robin van Persie. Since his switch to Old Trafford thanks to the little boy inside him, he has earned a pantomime villain status at the club and the reception he received at the Emirates last season was deserved. Despite being apologetic when he scored against the Gunners for the first time, he had a rather mixed emotion when he converted his penalty at the Emirates. Last November, he ran like a mad man to celebrate with Shrek when he nodded home his team’s winner against the Gunners.
Since Didier Drogba departed the shores of England to seek greener pastures elsewhere, Shrek currently holds the record for the highest amount of goals scored against Arsenal which stands at 10.
He has been injured (duh!!) for a considerable chunk of this season but since his comeback against Cardiff, RVP has scored three in three, which takes his goal tally for the season to 10 in just 13 games. Van Persie averages a goal every 114 minutes, scoring 7 out of 12 of his clear cut chances. Arsenal will ignore this player at their own peril.
Arsenal have kept 10 clean sheets in their last 11 matches in all competitions at the Emirates Stadium and conceded just one in the other match. The Gunners have also won six of their last eight Barclays Premier League games at home by a 2-0 score line.
To injuries, Mathieu Flamini will serve the last game of his suspension while Thomas Vermaelen (knee), Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and Kim
At Manchester United, Marouane Fellaini (groin) is still out injured while there are doubts over the fitness of Jonny Evans (calf) and Phil Jones (concussion).
To team news, I’d expect some changes from the side that was decimated at Anfield. In the defense, the only change I’d expect would be Kieran Gibbs replacing Nacho Monreal. The Spanish fullback has been torn apart in the “big games” the Gunners have played this season and he’d be a liability at the back. In midfield, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta would still retain their places but I expect to see Tomas Rosicky start ahead of the Ox because he has been a wild card in our big games this season and he has performed admirably.
See many fans want Mesut Ozil benched but that’s bollocks in my honest opinion. He’s one of the best players at the club but he’s just going through a bad spell at the moment. Santi Cazorla stated that he’s no Superman and he can suffer a dip in form but his teammates are backing him to bounce back and there’s no better game to make your mark that a crunch clash against the old enemy, Manchester United.
Despite his poor run, Ozil has been a creative force this season amassing a total of 56 chances created so far, contributing in eight assists with a passing accuracy of 88%. He has also notched four goals so far and another goal on Wednesday will do his confidence a world of good.
My predicted lineups will be,
Let’s hope for a victory tonight.