Welbeck up-top to make it 13 wins in row? Arsenal-MU Preview

Arsenal vs Manchester United is one of those games of any season, a magical fixture whether it be at the Emirates, Highbury or the Manor Ground where back in the early part of the last century it would have been Woolwich Arsenal vs Newton Heath.

As a fan you always pick up an extra buzz going to the stadium when United are in town. Not a buzz of apprehension, as is the case when we’re playing Spurs and losing is not an option, but a feeling that you know that you’re going to see an attacking game, where both sides will be going at it full pelt because that’s United; they are still ‘the’ glamour club of English football and probably always will be.

Today we once again entertain United, the team with the reputation for attacking football despite the dark hand of Jose Mourinho being at the helm, something that the ‘specialist in self-promotion’ has struggled with since he got the gig.

Of course, our good chums in the press have gone on ad nauseum about the record of Wenger vs Mourinho, but it’s worth noting that Arsene is unbeaten against Mourinho since he took over at Old Trafford.

December 2004
Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea
April 2005
Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
August 2005
Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal
December 2005
Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea
December 2006
Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal
May 2007
Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea
December 2013
Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea
March 2014
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal
October 2014
Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
April 2015
Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea
September 2015
Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
November 2016
Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal
May 2017
Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United

The Gunners are on a hot streak, 12 successive wins at the Emirates going back to the end of last season, today will be No.13 (pause for dramatic music).

We should be going into this game full of confidence despite the untimely absence of Alex Lacazette. And whilst Arsenal are still quite capable of shooting themselves in the foot, I’m sensing more resilience in our defence and more responsibility in our midfield. Up top I’d like to see Danny Welbeck start against his boyhood club, despite his recent habit of looking as if he’s a contestant in a dancing competition when in front of goal.

The Mourinho factor will be a, er, factor, so with all that in mind, I’m going for a score draw. COYG.

There ya go lads, hope it helps.

30 thoughts on “Welbeck up-top to make it 13 wins in row? Arsenal-MU Preview

  • Top stuff, Kev. Yes it is a special game but playing Mourinho makes it less fun. You know we can only beat them by playing really disciplined and not allow them space to counter into. They will sit back and, like so many defensive teams, will absorb pressure and spring counter-attacks. Wenger will need to find the right balance between being solid at the back and take the game to the meanest defence of the league. With Koz, Nacho and Mustafi we have the defenders to deal with counter-attacks, but I am worried about the full backs. Kola and Bellerin will have to have very good games to get something from the game. I reckon, Welbeck will be play on the left and Alexis through the middle, and that would give us a good balance. Big game as well for Rambo and Xhaka. Bring it on.

    My ideal line up for this one is:


  • Ha Kev, Welbeck dancing ! I hope only a scoring celebration dance. If so, he can be as clumsy as he wants to be.

    Total, I was worried as i have been all season to try and predict a line up. In this case, when i saw yours…. I’ll go with that. I really like it.

    You can be the successor to Le Proffeseur. I know you can work with the new Dortmund and Barcelona guys.

  • Love the line-up Total, it’s one that I would go with, but Arsene, well he’s a bit too cautious to change a winning formula, so I reckon Bellerin will start instead of Wilshere, but I hope I’m wrong.

    Likewise Jonnie, I’d like to see Danny pirouette across the grass after scoring our winner.

  • Liked your post Kev.

    If manu** sits back, we should get a quick first goal and then pressure them for the second and third goals to kill the game.

    But i do not see it as a defensive game. Manu** have good attackers, and they will be used to test Cech.

    I am not sure if manu** does field a like for like lineup, but with Ozil and Alexis up front with Welbs we will definitely see fireworks. It remains to be seen which end of the pitch the fireworks will be at, but if the lads play as a team we will be ok.

  • Thanks for the preview, Kev. We’ve been posting on the Burnley (live blog) thread for a while now (frankly, I didn’t even notice till yesterday 😀 ). Lol @ “specialist in self promotion”. Always found JM a despicable kind of guy who hasn’t improved with age and having clubs with pedigree under his watch.

    As for the game, agree with JK; if we play as a team, we are set to do them some damage. COYG!!

  • Hi all.. Hi Kev.. great post.

    Giroud or Welbeck.. I must choose Giroud.
    Not only because of his great last performance, but also because Sanchez and Ozil had find their balance and enjoying their post.. So why must we change it with Sanchez as CF..??

    MOU had lost his braved.. We won’t see an open games anymore between the two richest clubs in England..
    But I loved Wenger’s mind-game with Mou.. I never hope that Mou will respon.. but maybe the team will take it seriously and play more open like they used to be.. hehehehe

    TA.. that’s nothing to worry about our left wing back Kolasinac, here did just fine.. unlucky for him to not scored one or two ini our last game against HT..
    Our most concern must put on our Right army.. If Kos must rest and Bellerin with his last performance that Will be problem..
    Let’s hope Ozil keep his magic running.. as we all know how up and down he can’t be like a yoyo..

    Keep on fighting guys.. VCC.. Go Gunners..

  • Well written Kev
    If Mourinho really thinks he can catch City, he has gotta go for a win. We all know however that if he can get a bore draw he will be happy enough and should they catch us on the break he will totally park the bus. As you say though, he doesn’t quite have the evil eye over us anymore.

    Team is playing well at the moment, so don’t get to carried away lads. If we keep our, 10 men on the pitch and don’t concede any penalties, with a little luck and a fair win, we could give them a good hiding.

    And just to cheer me up even further

    Chelsea 0 Newcastle 1. Watay the lads

  • And, unfortunately it’s now 2-1 Chelsea.
    Quickness of Hazard and Morata– and Cesc’s passing giving the barcodes fits.


  • I reckon Bels will see a lot of the ball; mu will allow for this as he is seen as our weakest attacker in terms of producing assists and scoring goals. Defensively he is better than Rambo, but the Welshman woild add a lot in attack tonight. Jack would need to sit deeper in this one, quite close to Xhaka to make it work in midfield. But agreed it will not happen.

  • Hey fellas… Up early even if our match is late…

    Thanks a ton (tonne?) for the preview Kev… I wasn’t expecting one (and I was too busy yesterday to try one myself) so it’s a very pleasant surprise. Please do regale us with some stories from the matches you saw at the Manor Ground… 😉

    Arsenal-United IS big… One of the first really great wins in the new stadium had to be the 2-1 in spring of 2007 with Eboue to Henry sealing it… Alas, despite doing the double over them that season, United went on to win the title. The winning goal was bittersweet as well given that RVP broke his metatarsal in the celebration, Henry left for Barca in the summer, and it was pretty much the last good thing Eboue did at our club. That’s about as far back as I go, Kev… Sorry…

    I guess nobody was too moved by my defense (defence?) of Hector Bellerin from a couple of days back on the old thread. It must be because of his performance in the Huddersfield match (which, of course, I could only listen to). Did he really play THAT badly? To me, he’s been doing well enough, esp. at the defensive end and in giving extra freedom to (the momentarily magnificent) Mesut… Still, everybody wants him out, putting (reckless?) Rambo in at RWB and Jack in the middle. In the last (full) match I saw from the latter (Wilshere at Cologne…) we had zero creativity and the guy in question fluffed the best chances that we did create. To each their own, of course, and maybe I’m the blind one. Or maybe, because surely Wenger will not play our (cult?) hero, folks are just lining up their I-told-you-so and Jack-from-the-start-and-we-woulda-won-it lines. To me it’s a mystery…

    Not quite as cult-ish (but getting there…) is the push to get a start for Welbeck. Why, when Ollie finishes a pair in style (and DW whiffs his chance) do folks prefer the English guy? Is it that factor? (That he’s English)… I get the “better runner, good physicality on the ball, should be pumped up to play against his former club” stuff, but most of that would seem to argue for putting him on the left and Alexis up top as we did up at Man City–except with Iwobi in Welbeck’s spot. DW might be fit enough for a start…and he may have inched ahead of Iwobi in the pecking order. If so, why not? If not, we might also see the line-up we saw up there (with Mustafi, of course, in for Le Coq). Again, what (TF) do I know?…

    Personally, I think AW will want to keep things as similar as possible to the team that has notched the three consecutive wins and clean sheets, with just the one French CF replacing the other…


    No matter what, it’s a tricky one. United are stronger now that Pogba is back; He and Matic can do a real job controlling space (and the ball) in the middle of the pitch. While they’re probably stronger on the break–Young and Valencia can get forward quickly–they can also do damage creeping forward in possession and we must beware that both Mata and Mkhitaryan (even if Moo wants them replaced by Ozil in the summer…) can find a pass to Lukaku or Rashford or Martial or whoever plays up front (Ibra is also available). As such, being on the ball probably suits us better. Both Eric Bailly and Phil Jones (as well as Fellaini and Carrick) are listed as out for this one, so trying to push their replacements into errors seems a good idea. As always, the first goal is key…

    To me, Mourinho is a master at creating distraction away from the fact that his teams can play only one way against their rivals: a conservative style that’s boring, grinding and pretty much miserable to watch. So, expect some of his usual stuff, if not another built-in excuse. In May it was prioritizing the Europa League which justified the 2-nil result Kev noted in the preview… No excuses this time (no matter what comes out of the cow’s mouth…) so I’ll take that same scoreline tonight…

  • Some think Arsene gets experimental in where he plays some of his squad in cup ties?
    With Matip out Klopp is starting Emre Can at CB vs Brighton.


  • J-Dub… Isn’t it more that Klopp is quite desperate to stop leaking goals?… In truth, it doesn’t seem that different from AW trying to play Le Coq or Elneny at middle-middle…

    They used to give me ALL the 3 o’clock matches with the satellite service. At least today we’ve got Pool on the main channel and Totts (at Watford) on the business news station… I’ll probably be switching back and forth…

    Our match is on the flagship station but not for another 2.5 hours… When the time comes I’ll be putting up a live-blog post…

    Beware folks–and be sure to give me even more help than usual–that I’m working on a grinder modification this morning (for the espresso, of course) which means (probably) some extra testing for, er, quality control, or something…

    You’ve been warned… 😮

  • 1 nil Watford… Richarlison did fine work to keep a ball in and win a corner…which Spurs defended about as badly as possible…

    Most likely the game with a goal (that one…) is the better one to watch?…

  • Is Wijnaldum also in the back line for Pool? Brighton got a ball to an attacker in a very central position and only 6 or 8 yds out…but his chocolate foot melted…

    Ox couldn’t make the line-up even with all those other MFs moved around?….

  • Geez… Simplest of equalizers after Richarlison dived for a pen at the other end… A pacy wide pass from Dier set Eriksen around his marker and it was easy for him to cross to Son who was ahead of his trackers…

    Other game… Your CB, Emre Can, heads home from a corner…

    On the plus side, I’ve gotten to see all the goals… On the minus, the last two have been by the teams chasing us for a top-4 spot… 😦

  • Wijnaldum was listed in MF pregame. And yeah, I get it as far as Pool leaking goals!
    Noting my quip about Arsene-The-Mad-Le Prof? His flammable mixes being in early cup ties.

    With hindsight 17– and my revelation and personal perspective– ‘IMO’ — on the hybrid-ing by Arsenal of their StatDNA model? Arsene– since the Charity Shield? He was giving OX every opportunity to disprove– what the ‘Gunnerball’ statistics were telling the club about his projected worth to the club.

    Ox didn’t move the needle in his favor on-field–so £40M is was.

    So I’ll go-to my standard jibe at Klopp:
    “So long and thanks for all the cash!”
    (Apologies to Douglas Adams.)


  • Davinson Sanchez RC for clotheslining Richarlison on a break down a flank at MF.
    Tots at 10-men at 1-1.


  • Indeed, Totts down to 10 (though I missed the incident even if I saw two additional goals in the other match… Brighton missing a gilt-edged chance with Pool breaking the other direction and scoring by way of Firminho after Salah did all the work to put him in… And, Can giving up a pen which BHA just barely scored)…

    Hard to know about the stats business, IMO 😉 Ox certainly didn’t have the traditional (goals, assists) stats and I don’t really know about his passing stats (though I imagine they were pretty poor). He must’ve had some decent dribbling and (getting some) crossing in stats. Giveaways in bad positions (same as Rambo and Alexis) always seemed a problem to me… But, I just watch and the StatsDNA certainly seems like something to which we’ll never have access…

  • Doucoure WAT hammers a shot from 24yds off the INSIDE of the right post– and out.
    Watford being physical– beating up Kane; winding up Alli.


  • You’re right about never having access 17.
    It’s valuable, proprietary stuff. And not just ‘IMO’.

    The man responsible for my Houston Astros stats implementation GM Jeff Luhnow– came from the St Louis Cardinal organization 4yrs ago. Two years ago– it was discovered that St Louis had hacked into the Astros database– likely gleaning info that will benefit the Cardinals for years . A StL director was sentenced to 4yrs in prison– and the Cardinals paid a fine $2M (largest allowed), 2 draft choices to Houston– and a ban on signing prospects this year. The director is also banned for life from MLB.


  • Team sheet is unchanged from the last game for both Arsenal and United. So, all the news of a groin injury to Laca was all mind games or is he a quick healer?

    That puts to rest the matter of who starts between Giroud and Welbeck then.

  • Liverpool must be the most dangerous and efficient side on the counter attack, you’d say. When they take off, they end up with a goal, 7/10 times. From a missed sitter by Murray, Liverpool score from the break-away. Devastating. Something we need to get back into our game.

  • Wow… Quite a story there… One I’d never heard (but I don’t follow baseball now that the original stats team, my Oakland A’s, are just a feeder club)…

    Spurs 5 mins away from another 2 points dropped…

    Line-ups are out… Lacazette is a miracle recovery… Time to get the new post together…

  • FYI as an aside– 17?
    Then A’s manager (former Astro mgr and player) Art Howe (now an Astros studio commentator)– was livid about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s dopey, scapegoating portrayal of him in the movie ‘Moneyball’. Can’t argue either. Not to mention Hoffman was a doughy-type– where Art is still built like wound-steel cable.

    Billy Beane’s implementation of Sabermetrics was brilliant and ahead of his time.
    And (this is ‘IMO’), so will be Arsene Wenger feted again– at some point.


  • Spurs have got away with one there as Watford should have had a last minute penalty as Dier handled in the area, very clearly, but ref waived away entreaties. Well, another opportunity to pull further away from them, I guess.

    Everton seem to have just hit a turn of form as Sam Allardyce takes over.

  • ‘Eris– was thinking same. A draw suits Arsenal best. Keeps Watford from thinking bigger too.


  • Watford are tough at home and Spurs have to see that as a point won…

    Everton should also be tougher, esp. at home if Sam the chewing-gum man can get his team chomping again… Wasn’t he caught red-handed? Sort of like those St. Louis baseball fellas?

    Anyhow, the NEW POST is up…

    Please join me over there… Cheers…

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