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Arsenal v Man Utd Preview: Team News, Preferred XI & Prediction
Arsenal will welcome the 2012/13 Premier League champions to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Football tickets are usually hard to come by in north London at the best of times but when the champions are in town, it’s almost impossible. I had to call in a few favours to get myself a ticket for Sunday’s game but luckily I’ve got my hands on one and I’ll be in the north Bank to get behind the boys.
Much of the pre-match talk centered around the return of Robin van Persie and giving him and his Manchester United team mates a guard of honour.
Personally, I don’t know what all the fuss is about regarding the guard of honour. They gave us one back in 1991, we’re a classy club and there is no reason why we shouldn’t return the favour. We’ve been nowhere near the league title for years and whether we like it or not, United have been the most consistent team in the division this season and are deserved champions.
The main problem in many fans eyes is having to clap a certain Dutchman on to the pitch, which I completely understand and it’s going to be gut-wrenching, but we all knew when he left there was a good chance he was going to win things. It’s unfortunate how it’s worked out with them winning the title in the run-up to his return to the Emirates but we’ll just have to deal with it. Maybe Fergie will go easy on us and rest RVP?! We can but dream.
Anyway, United may have little left to play for but Arsenal are desperate for the points and hopefully that will reflect in the game. We should want it more and that should make the difference on the pitch. If not, we only have ourselves to blame.
Tottenham took apart a half-hearted Man City side during the last 20 minutes at White Hart Lane last week and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to beat this United side in similar fashion.
We’re still in the driving seat for third and a win on Sunday will put us in great shape with Wigan, QPR and Newcastle left to play. Chelsea and Spurs have to play each other and the Blues fixtures look tough on paper, especially considering they also have their Europa League exploits to think about, so I still fancy us to get fourth at least.
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Lukasz Fabianski will miss out once again with a rib injury meaning Wojciech Szczesny will start in goal. The young Pole has done little wrong since returning to the side but he could be a busy boy this weekend so hopefully he’ll put in a good display and stake his claim for the No.1 shirt next season.
The big call the boss has to make is who to bring in for the suspended Olivier Giroud up front. My personal choice would be Lukas Podolski but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Theo Walcott or even Gervinho given the nod up top.
Jack Wilshere will be recalled to the starting eleven, most likely in place of Tomas Rosicky, while Kieran Gibbs may also come in for Nacho Monreal at left back.
It’s very difficult to predict what team Sir Alex will field now they’ve won the league. He hinted earlier in the week that he’ll give some of his fringe players some game-time during the final four games but that doesn’t mean he’ll start the likes of Hernandez, Cleverley or Nani this weekend.
I have a feeling we’ll see virtually a full strength side from United. Fergie has already confirmed Ferdinand and Vidic will start with Phil Jones moving to midfield, and I think RVP will be the first name on the team-sheet. Ferguson won’t begrudge his new boy-wonder the chance to play at his former home.
I think this eleven has a great chance of getting a positive result this weekend. If we play with purpose and at a high tempo, we have the weapons to hurt them. What we can’t do is sit back in ‘awe’ of the champions and let them dictate the play.
My prediction is a 1-1 draw but the key to getting a result is stopping the supply line’s to van Persie. If we can achieve that, we have a great chance.
Bring the noise on Sunday Gooners. A huge three points are at stake. Forget RVP and get behind the team. If you’ve got a season ticket and can’t attend, give it to a friend. If you haven’t got a ticket yet use one of those ticket touts who sell Premier League Tickets at four times face value. Do whatever it takes to get yourself to the game. Let’s make sure every seat is filled and be the 12th man. COYG!!!
What would be your team? Do you agree with the guard of honour? Will you boo RVP?