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Preview: Man Utd v Arsenal, Team News, Starting XI & Prediction
Arsenal continue the defence of the FA Cup when we take on Manchester United at Old Trafford tonight.
We recovered from our Monaco nightmare with successive victories over Everton and Queens Park Rangers to move up to third in the Premier League table – just one point above United.
However, we can put Champions League qualification to the back of our minds this evening as the focus will be on securing a place in t he semi finals of the FA Cup.
Having already beaten Hull, Brighton and Middlesbrough, we face our toughest test yet and it’s safe to say our recent record at OT is dreadful having lost nine and won none of our last 10 visits.
United haven not been playing well but are still managing to do enough to pick up results this season and I think they are there for the taking if we get the game plan right.
We battered them at home in the league but didn’t take our chances and they exploited our vulnerability on the break to snatch a win, so we have to put things right tonight.
With Liverpool facing a tricky replay away at Blackburn, whoever wins this evening are going to be the firm favourites to win the FA Cup and it will give us a major boost in the race for third/fourth if we can be the team that books our place in the last four.
Szczesny trained on Sunday so is expected to start in goal tonight as Arsene Wenger confirmed at his pre-match press conference on Friday the Pole would be restored to the line-up if he proved his fitness following illness last week.
Nacho Monreal faces a late fitness test on a back injury while Gabriel Paulista has been ruled out for at least two weeks with a hamstring problem.
Jack Wilshere is due back in training this week following minor ankle surgery but this game will come too soon so he remains out along with Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Debuchy and Abou Diaby.
As for United, RVP won’t be playing as he’s got an ankle injury but Michael Carrick could return to the starting eleven.
The big decision for me is who starts in midfield and on the the right wing. I think we’ll need Ramsey’s energy and work-rate in the middle which unfortunately means I’d have to leave out Cazorla.
Ozil simply has to play and I’d choose Welbeck on the right as he’ll work hard to cover for Bellerin and he’ll be hungry to prove a point against his former side.
As previously mentioned, I’ve not been impressed by United this season and think they’ve been fortunate to pick up as many points as they have in the league. If we keep things tight at the back and don’t commit too many bodies forward and get caught out on the break, then we should be able to score a couple at the other end.
It’s never that simple against United but I’m going to back the boys to end our poor run at Old Trafford with a 2-1 win.
United 1-2 Arsenal