Arsenal vs Manchester United Pre-Match
This week we take a trip to Old Trafford to face our bitter rivals. It’s a little unusual this time around though because instead of sir red nose it’s David Moyes at the helm. Early days have been rough for him (as you’d expect). He has big shoes to fill and he’s slowly dragging United back up the ladder. A loss for United will see them languishing 11 points off the lead. A position they have not been in for a very long time.
A win against United would boost our confidence through the roof and really act as a springboard for the long season ahead. Wins against Pool, BD, and Man U in a week would make a serious statement to the rest of the competition!
Let’s get in to it shall we:
Missing in Action:
Arsenal: Podolski (Hamstring) – back in training and aims to be back in December, Ox (Knee), Diaby (Knee), and Sanogo (back). Wilshere, Flamini, and Walcott face fitness tests.
Man United: Fletcher (chronic bowel condition), Welbeck (Knee). Reports have suggested that Rafael (foot/ankle), Evans (back) and Carrick (calf/shin) could all return this week. Almost a full squad for United…no excuses.
Flamini to return in place of Arteta and Serge to step in for Rosicky. It’s probably too attacking away from home but I’d like to see us put them on the back foot quickly and score early. The likely scenario is Rosicky to play in Gnabry’s place just like he did midweek. An additional question mark is will Flamini be alright to go? If he is will he partner the ever reliable Zorro? Walcott and Wilshere will make the bench.
Arsenal v Man U 1-1
A beautiful run by Walcott saw Arsenal go ahead in the 2nd minute. It was undone by a poor back pass by Sagna, followed by an overzealous challenge inside the box as he looked to make amends. The penalty was despatched by the treacherous rat.
Man U v Arsenal 2-1
Vermaelen gifted BSR a goal in the 3rd minute. Somehow Evra scored with a header. Jack was sent off (The only Arsenal player on the day who decided to show up). Santi scored a conciliation goal at the end.
EPL Form Guide: Arsenal: : WWWDW Man U: WWDWL
Two massive wins in a row against Liverpool and German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund see us riding on cloud 9 at the moment. It’s been 252 days since our last loss.
Manchester United currently sit in 8th position…yep 8th! I’ve wanted to see them languish into mid table mediocrity for quite some time. It may not last but for now it’s better than porn. They were held goalless midweek by Real Sociedad, they blasted away Fulham either, and Chicharito saved them at home against Stoke. They’ve started to lift but by no means do they look convincing.
In saying that, Man U (away) still remains our toughest fixture this season…regardless of either teams form.
This week I’ve dipped into the Arsenal Archive and pulled out this video clip. It’s the famous Ruud Van nistelrooy incident in the 2003/04 season. I absolutely loved at how the team bandied together and gave him a mouth full when the final whistle blew. Keown’s jump and hit (probably still enraged after Red Arse picked him up and hugged him), Lauren’s and Parlours Push, and the rest of the team giving him a spray. God I’d love for the boys to do the same to Brave Sir Robin this weekend. Have a look:
One to Watch:
This week’s one to watch is Rooney. All Summer long he was linked with a move away from the Fergie-less United. It’s no revelation he stuck around, we’ve seen it take place before when he wanted more money. I’ve always hated him! Ever since he scored that outrageous goal during his Everton days I knew more despair was to come. It did come…in the form of a dive across Sol Campbell’s leg in the match that snapped our unbeaten run (. He’s scored 10 goals against Arsenal which is more than any other team…aren’t we lucky!!! He’s like a balder, whiter version of Drogba (I’m not sure which one dives more though). Hopefully Flamini can leave a few marks on both him and BSR. As Arseblog mentioned the other day, it’s only fair BSR and Rooney share the same fate as General Zod. Being trapped in the Phantom Zone as they waft through space forever is a fitting end after all the anguish/anger they’ve caused us over the years.
Arsenal’s one to watch is none other than “the enforcer” Mathieu Flamini. He’s tough, uncompromising, and fights to the very end! For years we’ve been torn apart by United on the counter. Flamini will have to marshal the zone in front of the back four and protect it with his life. The good thing about Flamini is…he knows no other! You know what you are going to get when he steps out onto the pitch. Let’s hope he’s fit enough to start.
BFG + Kozzer vs Rooney + Brave Sir Robin
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny check list:
- · Luis Suarez—–
- · Daniel Sturridge—-
- · Robert Lewandowski—-
- · Marco Reus—–
- Brave Sir Robin
- Wayne Rooney
They’ve kept four big hitters quiet, now it’s time to close out another two. Rooney started off the year slow (no surprise given the controversy throughout the summer), but he’s stepped up in recent weeks and started to form a good relationship with BSR. Together they’ve scored 11 goals in the league this season (same number scored by Giroud and Ramsey) so our defensive duo must maintain their form if we are to win at Old Trafford. With the help of Sagna, Gibbs, Flamini, and Szcz I think they will. 3 clean sheets in a week…you got it!
This week’s finger goes to none other than Ashley Young.
The premier league was relieved to see the back of serial diver Christiano Ronaldo. However, in his place grew another diver in the form of former Aston Villa winger Ashley Young (I guess you can say he’s still a Villain (eh! eh! eh! Okay I apologise for that one). At Man United he’s become the new Ole Gunnar Solskjær, but instead of coming off the bench to score he comes on -> is touched by an opposition player (sometimes not even) and delivers a bewildering blur of twists and turns resulting in a split legged face plant -> whistle -> penalty (and sometimes a red card). The catalogue he’s developed over the last few years is truly astonishing. In a game that can be won or lost by the smallest of margins he is rightfully on the receiving end of the media’s blowtorch. Thankfully his dive against Real Sociedad during the week didn’t win them the match. Justice was served when Brave Sir Robin missed the penalty and Man United shared the points. It’s a real shame, as once upon a time he was considered a real talent. Now he’s resigned to forging a career in the England synchronised diving team. My finger is out to you Ashley…time to pull yours out too (just not this week and not for United).
I’m glad the ref in our game against BD didn’t fall for similar tactics employed by Robert Lewandowski. It was sickening how often he dived throughout the match. I’m still laughing about the foul Arteta was called for after he won the ball from Lewandowski. Amazing how Kozza can be absolutely poll-axed in the box and receive nothing, yet these blouses can get rewarded when they go to ground after a pass of wind.
Pre-Match Pat on the back:
This week’s pat on the back is going to Arsenal’s Running Man Tomas Rosicky.
His importance to the team cannot be mentioned enough. When others are puffed out and out on their feet Rosicky is there! Terry is mesmerised by his hair flapping about as he runs, whereas we are fascinated by his determination and commitment to the cause. I had him as our MoTM against BD for obvious reasons. He chases, he passes, he tackles, he attacks…he really does do it all. He may not be able to play every game but when he does he definitely makes it count. The press is very important in today’s game and I think he’s the best in the team at implementing the strategy. He’s definitely got a lot more juice in his legs, and I hope he’s rewarded with a premiership medal at season’s end for his continual hard work. Well done Rosicky.
‘Ask the opposition’ returns again this week. It is designed to get some friendly banter from our opposition fans and get their insight for the match ahead. This week the answers were kindly provided by Dale O’Donnell from http://strettynews.com (@StrettyNews). Let’s see what he’s written for us this week:
1. What do you attribute to your slow start to the season?
It’s a transitional period. David Moyes came in and was willing to try different things. He had to do it at some stage and there was always going to be consequences, as you can see from the points we’ve already dropped. There has been signs of negative football and that must be altered. Attacking football is a key aspect to Manchester United.
2. How is Moyes travelling? He has big shoes to fill, will he make the grade?
Massive shoes to fill but he must be his own man and do things the way he feels is right. You don’t change a club like United, it will change you. Expectations are risen dramatically since his reign at Everton. Personally, I’ve got behind him from day one despite not being my initial choice. Moyes is a football man and he deserves time.
3. Your thoughts on Ashley Young being labelled a diver?.
Thoughts? It’s embarrassing. Young arrived and has yet to show any real consistency. Both Fergie and Moyes have said they’ve spoken to him about it but he still does it. And he’s still mediocre.
4. Are you happy with how your transfer window went?
Not particularly, but Moyes did name his targets. It was not his job to negotiate, so anyone hanging the blame over his head has not got a clue what they’re talking about.
5. What position/ player is your weakest link?
That has to be our midfield, but I’m not going to single out any player because it often depends on the combination. Carrick performs well regardless of who he is alongside. However, we still have fans that don’t appreciate the job he does for us.
6. What position is Arsenal’s weak link?
I don’t rate Szczęsny at all. He’s been at Arsenal since 2009, so he’s had the time to do it.
7. Which Arsenal player would you love to have in your team and why?
Ozil, hands down. What he has done for Arsenal so far this season does not surprise me one bit. It’s what happens when you add world class to your squad. Look at us last season with Van Persie. Remember him? Without your former captain, I doubt we would have won the league.
8. What is your match prediction?
We are at home, so I’m going for 1-1.
It’s hard to not get carried away and say we are going to win it easy, especially considering the way we’ve handled our opposition this week. The truth is we’ve played two very tough games in a row. Hopefully our physios have been working overtime and the players doing everything they can to recover 100%. In saying that it’s a massive game, if you can’t lift and find another gear in this game you don’t belong at Arsenal. I’d love to see us win at Old Trafford because it’s been a truly miserable place to play over the years; therefore, I’m torn between a 1-1 draw or a 0-2 victory. Frick it…0-2 to the good guys.
What is your prediction?
What starting line-up would you choose?
De Gea or Szczesny?
What position is their weakest link at the moment?
What tactic would you employ to beat Man U?
What will be the top 4 at season’s end?
Written by: Oz Gunner