Daily Archives: March 9, 2015
It doesn’t get any bigger than this. This game will go a very long way to decide the outcome to this season’s FA Cup. These are the two teams that have won the competition more than any side in the country and both teams would know that with victory tonight, they have the likes of Bradford / Reading, Aston Villa and Blackburn / Liverpool in their path to glory.
In Arsene Wenger’s 18-year stint with the club, this would be the 11th time he’d feature in the quarterfinals and his side has progressed to the semifinals in nine of the previous 10, with the Gunners winning the competition five times under the French gaffer.
The only time they were eliminated at this stage was in 2011 against United, who have won nine and lost none of the last 10 matches against Arsenal at Old Trafford. Manchester United have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four FA Cup games against Arsenal. I don’t need to remind you how pathetic Arsenal’s record has been on that ground with the Gunners last win coming as far back as 2006. United have won 11 and lost just one of their last 15 matches against Arsenal in all competitions.
However, the manager has stated that it all comes down to quality on the night, not what the record books say,
“When the team is not as good, they lose. “It doesn’t matter what shirt they wear, or what stadium they play in. It is down to quality.
“If I’ve learnt something in my life it’s that the performance on the day decides the outcome of the day, not where you play.
“This team has a good mentality because we had a slow start this season and every time when we lose a big game you see how much the players are touched. I think the mentality is very healthy.”
The Gunners would have to be very mindful of the Red Devil’s captain, Wayne Rooney. The English forward has scored more goals against Arsenal than any other player in Premier League history (11) and has scored the Gunners in all three of his FA Cup appearances against them. Wayne Rooney has scored seven goals in his last eight FA Cup matches.
Arsene Wenger would have preferred to feature his ‘cup keeper’, Wojciech Szczesny, but the Pole has been struggling with
excess benching illness and he faces a late fitness to ascertain whether he’d feature tonight. The defensive pairing will more or less pick itself with the current injury woes on Gabriel and Nacho Monreal and I also expect Hector Bellerin to feature ahead of Calum Chambers in the right fullback position.
In holding midfield, Francis Coquelin would have his work cut out for him in his bid to quell the threat Manchester United’s attacking talent would pose. The midfielder recently stated that he had always believed in his ability to excel but he needed a run of games at Arsenal to prove it. Well, I have no complaints – Coquelin has been awesome since he returned to the team. With Aaron Ramsey fit again, I expect him to feature in the box-to-box role with Santi Cazorla moving to his favored No. 10 position. Since the Spaniard dropped deeper to accommodate Mesut Ozil in the No. 10 role, his performances have somewhat dwindled.
In attack, the red-hot Olivier Giroud will be flanked by Ozil and Alexis Sanchez that has finally ended his drought. The Chilean began the season like a house of fire but his form reduced as fatigue took its toll and there was also the hamstring injury that halted his progress. Danny Welbeck is another player that would love to feature tonight but Wenger would know when to unleash the beast at his former employers. The Englishman hasn’t scored in a while as well, so he’d need it.
Manchester United: Jonny Evans (suspension), Luke Shaw (hamstring), Robin van Persie (ankle)
Arsenal: Francis Coquelin (nose), Aaron Ramsey (lacking match fitness), Serge Gnabry (lack of match fitness), Mathieu Flamini (hamstring), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Abou Diaby (calf), Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder), Gabriel (hamstring), Wojciech Szczesny (illness)
- Last Five Games: W W L W W
- Last Result: Newcastle 0 Manchester United 1
- Leading Goalscorer: Wayne Rooney (11)
- Last Five Games: W W L W W
- Last Result: QPR 1 Arsenal 2
- Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (19)
Manchester United (3-5-2): De Gea; Rojo, Jones, Smalling ; Young, Blind, Herrera, Di Maria, Valencia; Rooney, Falcao
Arsenal (4-1-4-1): Szczesny; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Coquelin; Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud
Gooner Daily says 2-2 to the Arsenal. There will be a replay at the Emirates
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