United take on Arsenal at Old Trafford this afternoon when the clubs are further apart than they’ve been in years. Having just sold Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, drawing and losing their opening two games, and struggling to qualify for the Champions League group stages, Arsenal look like a spent force.
In contrast, United have been going from strength to strength, building on the team that won a record breaking 19th title last season, and playing some great football. Sir Alex Ferguson has brought through and brought in a new generation of youth which are earning praise for their assured and confident performances.
So, if football was a game played on paper, we’d beat Arsenal 4-0 today. Anderson, who has scored 4 goals in his last 4 games for United, would boss the midfield as he used to when Fabregas was still in their side. Nani and Young would abuse Arsenal’s full backs whilst Rooney and his strike partner, whether that be Welbeck, Chicharito or Berbatov, would batter Arsenal’s shaky defence. De Gea would be well protected by his central defence, whether Rio comes back in to the team or not, whilst our full backs would be competent in attack, whilst quelling any threat on the flanks from the opposition.
However, with football not being a game played on paper, we’d be foolish to think that we’ll certainly walk all over Arsenal. Whilst it appears they don’t have much fight left in them, they are still professional footballers who must have some self-respect, so they won’t be coming to Old Trafford waiting for a pasting.
As we saw last season, they’re capable of raising their game for the big matches. We went to the Emirates and were beaten 1-0, during a period for them when they couldn’t beat anyone. How would it feel to support a team that only put in a shift when they play the top clubs? Who knows. But we shouldn’t rule out Arsenal putting in a cup final performance today.
I love getting a win against Arsenal. We’ve had some great wins against them since they last won a trophy six years ago. In the league, in the Champions League and in the FA Cup, we’ve dished out some proper beatings and whilst I’m not saying we’re guaranteed another of these results today, it’s really what I’m hoping for.
Having to play three teams from last season’s top five in our opening few games was a fairly daunting prospect when the fixtures were released. After beating Spurs so well, it would be great for confidence if we could get a result against Arsenal today ahead of our game against Chelsea in a couple of weeks.
So come on United, take the game to Arsenal and get another three points on the board.
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