Teams: Manchester United v Arsenal Venue: Old Trafford Competition: Premier League Last Match: Man United 3 – 0 Spurs Kick Off: 16 00 on TV on Sky Sports HD
Currently enduring one of his most difficult times as the manager of Arsenal Football Club, a trip to Old Trafford is not what the doctor ordered to solve Arsene Wenger’s deepening (metaphorical) illnesses.
Fielding what is probably one of his weakest sides in Premier League history, Wenger has been left without the heart of his side due to a combination of ill- fated transfer sagas, player petulance and the inevitable injury or two: leaving the Red Devils as overwhelming favourites.
Nonetheless, United will have to produce some more fine free-flowing football, and remain wary of the threat Arsenal’s forwards pose, if they’re to increase their lead over The Gunners to eight points, after only three games.
After an encouraging display against Spurs, David De Gea will start today’s match with the belief of the Stretford End right behind him. In stark contrast to the mainstream media’s young cult hero, Szcsnezny, United’s Spanish stopper will find himself under the spotlight, once again, in this massive fixture.
Across the back-line, Rio Ferdinand may struggle to retain his place, despite participating in a full week’s training, following the superb performances of Smalling, Jones and Evans over recent weeks. Considering this, it will be interesting to see if Sir Alex feels the need to break up this youthful partnership in favour of additional defensive experience.
In the middle, both Tom Cleverley and Anderson could both feel aggrieved if they find themselves on the bench, following their equally impressive displays last Monday. Nonetheless, Sir Alex may want to bring in one or two of Carrick, Giggs and Park (or possibly even Darren Fletcher) to ensure our dominance against a suspect Arsenal midfield of Lansbury, Ramsey and Rosicky.
Up front, Sir Alex has a whole host of options, with all seven first team strikers available, but Rooney and Welbeck are the most likely starting combination, with Chicharito still short of match fitness.
Predicted Line Up
Podcast- United v Spurs, United v Arsenal and the CL Draw
Check out the fifth Can They Score podcast, released this Friday, where we discuss all things Red HERE.
Key Clash- Carl Jenkinson v Ashley Young
Following the departure of Clichy to Manchester City and another injury to Gibbs, Arsene Wenger has recently resorted to playing the right-footed Sagna at left back, leaving the inexperienced Carl Jenkinson at right back.
Having only made eight appearances for Charlton before his move to The Emirates this summer, in a deal worth around £1 million, the 18 year-old will most certainly be given a difficult day by United’s £18 million summer signing, Ashley Young.
Unfortunately most notably known for his spectacular own-goal during pre-season, against FC Koln, the young defender could prove to be the weak link in an already vulnerable Arsenal back line.
One To Watch- Theo Walcott
On the back of an explosive performance, against Udinese, in Arsenal’s Champions League qualifier this week, Walcott will probably be trying to exploit Fergie’s fledglings, on the counter-attack, with his unparalleled pace.
Fighting to retain his place in Fabio Capello’s England side, Walcott will be looking to do a better job against Patrice Evra than Aaron Lennon managed on Monday.
My Prediction- Man United 3 – 0 Arsenal
Although I don’t expect the match to be an easy affair by any stretch of the imagination, I think it could most certainly be a long day at the office for Arsene Wenger’s injury- stricken side, if United get an early goal.