Arsenal v United: Preview
Nemanja Vidic is set to replace Rio Ferdinand in the Manchester United line-up to face Arsenal on Sunday. Ferdinand misses out as he starts a four-game suspension, the FA disciplinary panel deciding his appeal against a violent conduct charge for an attack on Hull's Craig Fagan last weekend was frivolous. But Vidic is ready to step into the breach after a six-game absence with a nerve problem down the right side of his leg. Darren Fletcher, meanwhile, believes Manchester United will have cause to be thankful for Wayne Rooney's last-gasp Carling Cup winner when they visit the Gunners. Not only did Rooney's stoppage-time header book a Wembley showdown with Aston Villa next month, it also avoided United having to face a draining extra half an hour against Manchester City - time that would have sapped legs and made recovery far harder for the encounter at the Emirates. Apart from winning us the tie, the good thing about Wayne's goal was that it saved us going into extra time, said the Scotland midfielder. That would not have been the ideal preparation for a visit to the Emirates because we know how important this weekend is. Fletcher view But that is what being a Manchester United player is all about - a massive semi-final during the week then a few days later another one in the league. Arsenal will welcome back Cameroon midfielder Alex Song from international duty, and centre-back Thomas Vermaelen has a small chance to feature despite picking up a leg problem in midweek. Striker Eduardo (hamstring) and midfielder Abou Diaby (calf) are, however, both out injured. Veteran former captain Sol Campbell could be in line to make his first appearance for the club at Emirates Stadium, while Nicklas Bendtner, back after a three-month lay-off because of groin surgery, is pressing for a start. Samir Nasri, who had been out with a hamstring problem, is also back in contention while Emmanuel Eboue has returned from the African Nations Cup. Robin van Persie (ankle), Kieran Gibbs (foot), and Johan Djourou (knee) are long-term absentees. Arsenal (from): Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Campbell, Gallas, Clichy, Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Rosicky, Bendtner, Arshavin, Fabianski, Silvestre, Nasri, Walcott, Traore, Ramsey, Eastmond, Emmanuel-Thomas. Manchester United (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Neville, Brown, Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Fabio, Park, Nani, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Fletcher, Gibson, Anderson, Giggs, Rooney, Owen, Berbatov, Diouf. Arsenal league form: WDWWD United league form: WWDWW Key opponent: Cesc Fabregas - orchestrates Gunners midfield and has 14 goals this season - hard to believe he still only 22 Prediction: Arsenal 2 United 2 - it's all set for another cracker between these two old rivals and there should be little to choose between them Agree with the prediction? Have your say. Click here for all the latest odds from Betfred.
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