Kick-off: 12:45 pm Saturday, November 3.
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester.
Manchester United host North Londoners Arsenal in the early kick off this Saturday. It will be a very emotional encounter for Arsene Wenger and his boys for various reasons. The 8-2 drubbing they received last year is still fresh in everyone’s memories. Moreover, Arsenal’s talisman van Persie, the league’s top scorer last season, is now plying his trade for the Red Devils. He returns to play against Arsenal after almost ten years.
Currently in sixth place, the Londoners are six points adrift of the Old Trafford outfit and a defeat would see them drop even further. They haven’t been in their best since the international break, losing two games and barely managing to get past QPR. They did stage a stunning come-back to defeat Reading 7-5 in a thrilling Capital one encounter in which they were down 0-4 at the half-hour mark.
United meanwhile have made their exit from the League cup after losing 4-5 to Chelsea in extra time. Despite leading 3-2 they conceded a penalty deep into injury time and the game progressed into extra time. Chelsea made amends for the controversial 2-3 loss they suffered at home last weekend by eliminating the Red Devils in mid-week.
Lindegard, who recovered from his thumb injury and featured in the Capital one tie against Chelsea, is likely to keep his place between the posts. Shinji Kagawa misses out due a knee injury. Ferguson is likely to retain the star pair of Wayne Rooney and van Persie up front, who will surely be a head-ache for the Gunners defenders.
Arsenal’s first choice left-back Kieran Gibbs is still injured and hence Andre Santos is likely to retain his place. Wilshere, who returned after a 17-month long layoff, was impressive against QPR and should start at the heart of the midfield. Walcott, who scored a hat-trick against Reading in mid-week might have done just enough to earn a call up.
United’s probable lineup: Lindegard, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Giggs, Cleverly, Young, Rooney, van Persie.
Arsenal’s probable lineup: Mannone, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos, Wilshere, Arteta, Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.
It has been ages since Arsenal defeated the Red Devils at Old Trafford and few would bet in favor of such a result. With possibly the best strike force in the league, United would be expected to score goals and put pressure on Wenger’s side. With league leaders Chelsea travelling to Swansea, a victory for United would keep the top spot within their reach.
United 3 Arsenal 1
About the Author (Author Profile)
Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.