Arsenal v United Preview
The title, many say, is ours to lose. Therefore with our next two games coming against our nearest challengers in Arsenal and Chelsea, two big wins could see us all but crowned as Champions.
On Sunday afternoon, United will be taking on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium knowing a win will enhance their title chances just that little bit more. Indeed, if Spurs can wrestle some points off of Chelsea this Saturday afternoon, next weekend when we welcome the reigning Champions to Old Trafford, we could be witnessing a coronation.
But one game at a time please, so let`s get those three points in North London and discuss where we stand after that!
Arsenal, not too long ago, were being talked of as potential quadruple winners. Sadly, for the North London side, that is now all history and even their chances of winning the title have faded after a loss to Bolton last weekend.
Ahead of the fixture, Javier Hernandez has confessed that he thought Arsenal would be our closest rivals for the title, remarking,
"I believed Arsenal would be our main opponents - they have excellent players."
"Perhaps the pressure damaged them, those defeats against Barcelona and Birmingham in the Carling Cup Final."
"They will be difficult to beat so once again we must put in a big effort."
"But United is a team that never knows when it is defeated. Our spirit and history creates fear in our rivals. If we are 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go, people know we can come back. That doesn`t happen at other clubs."
So there we have it, we`ll be 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go and still win - now that would be some game!
Arsenal Team News:
Arsene Wenger looked as if he was a man who`d seen a ghost when Arsenal conceded that late goal at the Reebok Stadium that virtually wiped out their chances of taking the title.
With nothing more than pride to play for Arsene will be looking to his side to produce a performance, but he enters this fixture without several key members of his squad, most notably, Bartley, Diaby, Fabianski, Mannone and Vermaelen.
But it should be pointed out the last on that list did make a comeback in a reserve fixture against United in midweek but is unlikely to be risked in such a high profile game.
Also not available is Rosicky who has been laid low with an illness.
Player to watch: Cesc Fabregas
On his day the young Spaniard can turn a game on its head with his intricate passing ad driving runs. One to watch, very carefully!
Manchester United Team News:
Any thoughts that Sir Alex might consider resting key players with a semi-final second leg of the Champions League coming up, were dispelled when United done the hard work in the tie by winning 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen. Therefore we expect Sir Alex to field his strongest possible side in his quest for that record 19th title.
One player who will be missing is Paul Scholes with the competitive midfielder serving the last game of his three game ban. Others not involved are likely to be Darren Fletcher and Owen Hargreaves. The former is on the way back from a stomach virus and has played forty-five minutes of a reserve match. As for the latter, who knows?
Dimitar Berbatov who has missed the last two fixtures, has recovered from his groin problem to declare himself available.
Player to watch: Wayne Rooney
Dropping in behind Javier Hernandez, RoonEy is now showing that awesome form we know he`s capable of. The Emirates could be the perfect stage for Wayne to deliver a knockout blow to Arsenal`s slim title hopes.
Match Facts & Stats
The fixture this weekend; will be the 45th time Sir Alex has crossed swords with Arsene Wenger. The record books show that Sir Alex has the edge when it comes to victories with 19 to the 14 of Wenger, with, off course, the remainder being drawn.
Draws have become the order of the day at the Emirates recently with Arsenals last three home games ending 0-0, 0-0 and 1-1, a sequence eof results that has hampered their title chances.
Recent fixtures between the two sides favour United with the Red Devils having won six of the last seven meetings and drawing the other.
Chris Foy will be the man trying to appease both managers in a fixture that has, sometimes, proven to be contentious.
It`s a classic clash between two teams with so much history. United need the three points to edge towards glory, Arsenal need the points to salvage some pride! I`m taking glory to beat pride with United winning 2-1.
United return to Champions League action this Wednesday with the second leg of the semi-final against Schalke before welcoming Chelsea to Old Trafford next weekend!