Arsenal v Manchester United; Wednesday 12th February; 19:45; The Emirates; London.
Arsene Wenger will be hoping his title contending Arsenal side can bounce back from their 20 minute capitulation against Liverpool when they take on a troubled Manchester United side at the Emirates on Wednesday night. The Gunners were blown away by Brendan Rodgers side at Anfield in a game where they were favourites to come away with 3 points and a positive reaction against United is the least Wenger and Arsenal fans will be demanding from a team that has showed so much promise this season.
"What is important is that we respond to that result, especially respond with a different performance because our performance overall was poor," said Wenger after the Liverpool game.
But it's not just been a disastrous week for Arsenal, Manchester United have endured an equally torrid time as David Moyes watched his side surrender a hard-fought 2-1 lead at Old Trafford in the dying minutes of extra-time to draw 2-2 with rock bottom Fulham, a side that a club of United's calibre should be beating, even with their current poor form. The Red Devil's will claim the title of underdogs as they travel to London in search of a morale boosting win and Moyes knows that the fans frustration may soon turn to hostility if results do not improve.
"We have to win all our games", Moyes admitted to his club's site.
Head to head:
In previous years Arsenal v Manchester United would have been touted as a top of the table clash, with huge implications on the destination of the Premier League trophy. But with United's current struggles that isn't the case, as the Old Trafford club currently sit in 7th place, 14 points adrift of the Arsenal. Although Moyes side did manage to beat Arsenal 1-0 earlier in the season courtesy of a Robin van Persie goal.
In all competitions the two clubs have come to blows a total of 207 times, resulting in 87 wins for United, 73 for Arsenal and 47 draws. Together the teams have scored a total of 599 goals against each other, with United edging Arsenal 315 to 284, an average of 1.52 and 1.37 goals per game respectively. United's biggest win against the Gunners came fairly recently in a game where they netted 8 times. We have to go back a fair few years for Arsenal's biggest win over United, which was in the 46/47 season, where Arsenal ran out 6-2 winners.
Likely team formation/line-up:
Arsenal starting XI (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna; Wilshere, Arteta; Podolski, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud.
Manchester United starting XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Evra, Vidic. Smalling, Rafael; Fletcher, Carrick; Januzaj, Rooney, Mata; van Persie.
Arsenal's injury and suspension list is substantial but will not effect the London clubs starting line-up too much. Long term absentee Abou Diaby is joined by this season's star player Aaron Ramsey, Walcott is still also on the treatment table whilst new loan signing Kim Kallstrom is also unavailable through injury. Mathieu Flamini is still suspended after previously being shown a straight red card.
Manchester United will be without summer signing Marouane Fellaini and also Luis Nani. Whilst Phil Jones and Jonny Evans are both doubtful.
If it was any other team going to the Emirates (bar Manchester City & Chelsea) I'd go for an Arsenal win. But in recent times former Gunner Robin van Persie has made Wenger pay for letting him join Premier League rivals United by scoring against them on more than one occasion, so with that in mind, I'm going for a 2-1 win for United.
Feel free to share your predictions via the comment box below!
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Line-up courtesy of FootyRoom.com