After a positive display against Udinese in Italy 4 days ago, Arsenal have regained a little bit of confidence ahead of today’s encounter against defending Premier League champions Manchester United.
Questions still remain about the quality of Arsenal’s squad, but one can’t fault the commitment and desire of Arsene Wenger’s young side.
With a little bit of pressure off his shoulders, now that Arsenal have made it to the Champions League group stages, Wenger will be solely focused on getting at least a point from their trip to Old Trafford. However, it isn’t going to be easy.
Manchester United have won both of their matches so far and with all their new signings looking positive, Sir Alex Ferguson has very little to worry about. He’ll make sure his team doesn’t get complacent against what is still a good Arsenal squad.
Arsenal team news:
Arsenal will miss Gervinho, Alex Song and Emmanuel Frimpong due to suspensions. All three players impressed last week and it is a bitter blow for the Gunners that they will be absent from the fixture. Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby will also be unable to feature due to injury and Sebastien Squillaci is nursing a calf injury. Kieran Gibbs is also unlikely to make it and Wenger revealed that Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen both face late fitness tests.
Jenkinson Vermaelen Koscielny Sagna
Walcott Van Persie Arshavin
Manchester United team news:
Ferguson is without captain Nemanja Vidic and Rafael in defence, but Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones have been so impressive that Rio Ferdinand will likely be on the bench, despite returning to full fitness. Chicharito has recovered from his injury, but Danny Welbeck is likely to keep his spot in the team. I am expecting the same line-up that thrashed Tottenham 3-0 last Monday.
Smalling Jones Evans Evra
Young Anderson Cleverley Nani
This is going to be a battle of tactics. Sir Alex has been playing a 4-4-2 recently, but given Arsenal’s midfield, I think the United boss might be tempted to add Darren Fletcher in there to disrupt Londoners tempo. However, with Arsenal without a natural defensive midfielder, Sir Alex is likely to stick with his two strikers and will encourage them to have a go at the Gunners depleted defence – Arsenal must get hold of the midfield if they want to get a positive result today.
With Bacary Sagna playing in an unfamiliar position and Carl Jenkinson inexperienced, Wenger should tell his wing-backs to be cautious going forward because Ashley Young and Nani are two players who can cause a lot of trouble.
Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky should be patient and track back regularly, but when they gain possession should look to move forward quickly and try to get Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott involved.
David De Gea has a weakness against long shots and high balls, so RVP, Andrey Arshavin and Walcott should take a few risks.
I feel Arsenal will fight hard and won’t be embarrassed, even though many think they will. However, United look a lot better than us and I think they might nick it 1-0. If we can play at our best and produce some moments of magic, we might very well get a result at Old Trafford.
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