Manchester United Preview: Bring Hell to the Red Devils
Two seasons ago, Arsene Wenger visited Old Trafford shortly after a dismal home appearance against Liverpool. The outcome turned out to be Wenger’s worst defeat as Arsenal’s manager as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side ran riot with Shrek scoring a hat – trick from set pieces. The Ogre has continued in that stead this season with notable free kicks against Manchester City and Crystal Palace.
Arsenal has had their fare share of doubters this season and it has been really nice serving this individuals meals of their words and they have been forced to eat them and acknowledge that the tide is turning at the Emirates. Following the opening day home loss to Aston Villa, many were quick to point their fingers and say how badly the Gunners were going to fare but right now, it’s really lonely at the top of the Premier League, as the Gunners languish at the summit.
Chelsea was touted as one of the favorites to win the crown but their recent form in the league doesn’t justify the bookmakers hopes by a far mile. After losing shamefully to Newcastle last week, they had the referee to thank as he awarded them a penalty right at the death to prevent West Brom from another historic victory.
The losses to Chelsea in the Capital One Cup and Dortmund in the first leg at the Emirates made Arsenal’s haters speak loudly in one accord but the astonishing victories over Liverpool at home and Dortmund away has instilled a measure of fear back into the minds of the opposition.
For the first time since the days dinosaurs walked the Earth, Arsenal come to Old Trafford brimming with a truckload of confidence and many believe that Arsene Wenger’s army can grab all three points against David Moyes’ side which put them 11 points ahead of their fierce rivals.
I don’t exactly expect Manchester United to roll over and play dead for Arsenal and in fairness to them, they have been in fine form as well with Moyes steadying the ship after a rather tumultuous start to life at Old Trafford.
David de Gea still makes those incredible saves, Shrek is still piling up the assists and free kicks, Robin van Persie’s screamer against Fulham last week showed that he’s still a force to be reckoned with and there’s Adnan Januzaj, the new kid on the block making more waves than the amount of times Ashley Young attempts a dive.
The Rooney – van Persie combo in attack will be a mouthwatering prospect for Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker but they have already eased past Napoli, Tottenham, Liverpool and Dortmund (away) with satisfying clean sheets to put the icing on a well-baked cake.
Arsenal’s form can be attributed to the collective performances of the team but there have been some stand out performers the Gunners will be banking on today.
Wojciech Szczesny’s form of late has been particularly outstanding and his commanding saves have been the difference between three points and one. The Gunners will be hoping he continues his good run of form because a lot would bank on his able shoulders.
Arsenal would also be hopeful that the Mertesielny pairing will he at their formidable best in their bid to quell the threat RVP and Shrek will pose. In midfield, Mathieu Flamini’s industry will come in handy but the question remains if he’s fully fit for the tie, although in his absence, Mikel Arteta has been a phenom.
Arsenal would also need the Premier League’s undoubted best player, Aaron Ramsey, to come up with another Ramseyrific moment that would end up with the ball at the back of the net as he has done so often this season. Then of course, there’s the sweet link up play from Olivier Giroud that would give his teammates a chance to get into the act.
To injury news, there’s good news as Jack Wilshere was deemed fit enough to travel North but I don’t see him getting a run out unless it’s absolutely necessary. The usual suspects are still out and I won’t bore you with who they are because we already know them.
To team news, I’ll expect an unchanged lineup from the team that has excelled over Liverpool and Dortmund. As the saying goes, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
It’s time to bring Hell to the Red Devils, and I hope they burn.