Ah! The day has finally arrived. Something that I have been contemplating since the fixture list was released, and one of the first things I always do when the list is actually released, is looking into the dates of Manchester United vs Arsenal.
It can’t get any bigger than this. One of the most fiercely contested games in England, it is this clash that first got me interested in the sport, and English football at large.
From the Martin Keown-Ruud van Nistelrooy tussle, to the Henry screamer, to Rooney’s dive to end the unbeaten run, to Keane and Vieira going at each other in the tunnel. Seriously, those were the days.
Of course the fixture has been skewed over the past few years, now with Arsenal’s stadium move, meaning they haven’t been able to compete at the same level in terms of transfers as United.
Yet, there have been plenty of fantastic memories for Arsenal fans. Emmanuel Greedybayor’s late winner at Old Trafford, Henry’s thumping header, Fabregas’ late equalizer, Cashri’s double effort, and Aaron Ramsey’s sweet finish.
This game has everything, that one can ask from a football game. History, rivalry, controversy, passion, skill and all of that. And of course, today’s fixture has on it, more stake than in recent games, because of Traitor van Cunty.
The long drawn summer transfer saga of Robin van Persie finally ended up in the player moving to Arsenal’s eternal rivals, Manchester United, and forever tarnishing his legacy as an Arsenal player. This move of his has probably raised the animosity between the clubs to another notch.
But, again, this fixture shouldn’t be about one cunt, because it never has been about one cunt. It has risen to another level, because of him, yes, but I think Arsenal will do well to concentrate on the game and put in a good display.
Emphasis will be on Arsenal defending as a team. In recent games this has not really been the case, with losses to Norwich and Schalke, and the Gunners conceding 5 against lowly Reading, despite scoring 7 themselves.
The recent few weeks have been topsy turving. Despite leaving for the international break on a high, by beating a tricky West Ham 3-1, away from home, the Gunners came unstuck, and there was also a fiery AGM to contend with, before narrowly beating QPR 1-0, and of course a Capitol One Cup epic.
However, the manager has calmed the fans down, by saying that conceding goals is inevitable, and that conceding goals isn’t always the team’s fault in the frantic pace of modern football. Per Mertesacker, himself, is looking forward to the chance to face van Cunty.
He’s very skilful and has movement you don’t expect,We trained a lot in the last year together. Sometimes you feel comfortable to play against him, sometimes not. He’s one of the players where he has to feel that you are there all the time and that’s what we as a team have to do on Saturday. In one way [training together helps], you expect his movement or you might anticipate his movement. He’s one of the players who can change his movements very quickly because he’s very skilful and has ability, we have seen it last year.But he’s not the only one who can score or be dangerous so it’s all about the team performance on Saturday.
I’ve never played there before,I think it’s a great experience to play against Manchester United at Old Trafford.My expectations are to face a world-class squad, or world-class 11 and to see our chances. That’s what we try to point out in the days before the match and to find our good game on Saturday. We need everybody on the pitch to put in a good performance.
Another Arsenal player who will be facing Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time in his Arsenal career, is Santi Cazorla, and the little Spaniard is looking forward to the challenge.
At Old Trafford we need to control the game and keep hold of the ball,I think the key to modern football is having possession, the more you have the more you control the game.[A win] would be great for the team’s confidence. To beat such a strong side at their own ground makes you stronger in all aspects.Let’s take the example of our match against Manchester City, which was a difficult game against a tough side. The team showed incredible quality and could even have won the game, so we came out of that match much stronger than before.Therefore, as well as the three points you can hopefully take from those games, you can come out stronger and take away more confidence too.
Arsenal, on the bounce of the 7-5 win over Reading, will come into the game with reasonably high spirits. Arsene Wenger was full of praise for the traveling support.The boss was also full of praise, for his prodigy, Theo Walcott, who is yet to sign a new contract to keep him at the club, beyond next summer.
Manchester United, are in fine nick, despite being knocked out of the Capitol One Cup by Chelsea, a 5-4 thriller at Stamford Bridge. However, they beat Chelsea in the league just days before, and were also involved in a 3-2 win over SC Braga, after being down by 2 goals.
Right, enough chit chat. On to some team news. Arsenal have no new injury worries at the moment, though Gervinho is ruled out for 3 weeks. Gibbs is still out, which means Calamity Santos faces an uphill task against Valencia today. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was impressive last season at home to the same opposition, before being Arsene Wenger’s 50,000th sub, is ruled out as well.
Manchester United have ruled out Shinji Kagawa and Nemanja Vidic, both on long term injuries. Here is how I can see the teams lining up.
United may yet play some surprises, in midfield, with the decision being between Cleverley and Scholes, but Ferguson may just opt for Cleverley for this one. Arsenal will do well to contain Wayne Rooney, who has been linking up well with van Cunty, recently.
It will also be interesting to see who starts at left back, though Andre Santos did visibly improve against QPR. United are no QPR, and they have the notoriously pace Antonio Valencia on the right wing, who will run Santos ragged, and provide cross after cross. Surely, Ferguson has noted that susceptibility of the Gunners.
Despite rumours that Wenger may start with Vermaelen, at left back, and Koscielny in the center, there are very few indicators that it will happen.It is going to be an interesting clash overall, and to keep a clean sheet will be to ask a huge effort from the Gunners, despite being the meanest defence in the league.
United, on the other hand, have been pouring goals in for fun, conceding twice against Chelsea, Braga and Stoke, and 4 just 2 days previously against Chelsea. Olivier Giroud will have a big game coming up, and I feel his presence, with his height could work to his advantage. Lukas Podolski may have to give in that extra bit to help Santos out, and may restrict his forays forward.
On the back of the Reading game, I would love to see Walcott starting. He looks in better nick, but having played 120 minutes, Wenger may start with Ramsey again, and use Walcott as an impact sub.
The most interesting battle will however be in midfield, with Arsenal’s midgets, namely Arteta, Cazorla, and Wilshere up against Carrick and Cleverley. The return of Wilshere has certainly boosted the team, as he was the only spark in an insipid game against QPR.
All in all, we are set for a hugely enthralling clash, between two footballing giants of the English game. Arsene Wenger has called for the away fans to respect van Persie, but he, the cunt himself, us, and the Manure fans, themselves, know it is not going to happen.
The circumstances in which van Persie turned over the same club, which made him into a player he is today, have completely changed the opinion of Arsenal fans, and nothing but a good result at Old Trafford today, will go some way of showing van Cunty what a big cunt he is.
Bring it on bitches, its war!
Enjoy the game wherever you are!
Jai Arsenal! 🙂
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