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Monday 9 March 2015

United v Arsenal: Full Preview..

Tonight Arsenal travel to Old Trafford for the F.a cup quarter final in what really is one our most important matches this season. Win this and confidence will be sky high and could set the team up for a great finish this season and really round off which has been a really good second half to the season. Arsenal are second only to Liverpool in terms of points garnered in the premier league in 2015 and also fare 1 point better than Chelsea, according to the Premier League form guide. The losses to both Spurs and Monaco are the only recent set backs, albeit significant ones at that, with Arsenal's champions league hopes all but over. All attention tonight, however is on the F.a cup and the daunting trip to United. Both teams, and as I mentioned on Saturdays post, both managers really need this victory. Anyhow enough waffle; lets get down to specifics.

History tells us that united have won 3 of the last 5 F.a cup clashes. Arsenal's 2 wins include the smash and grab final victory in 2005, which was won by Patrick Vieira's last kick for Arsenal, and up until last season we were constantly reminded of how this was our last trophy. United's wins include the 4-0 thrashing at Old Trafford, in which they were 3-0 up at half time, in 2008, the semi final win in 2004 and the 2-0 quarter final win in 2011 where they started with 7 defenders; yes you read that right. Arsenal have also failed to score in each of our last 4 F.a cup ties against United. However, our quarter-final record under Arsene Wenger is excellent with only one loss in 11 .(Although as I said above, we lost at the quarter-final stage against United in 2011). The stats get even worse for Arsenal fans if you look at our overall record against United, in which we have lost 11 of our last 15 matches and won just won against United. We have also only won four times at Old Trafford in 23 attempts since Arsene Wenger arrived (1998, 2002, 2003,2006). As we all know football is not based on history and it really is time we get a good win up there; with Wenger looking for an incredible 6 F.a cup wins, which will be a record in the modern game.

Talking to the official Arsenal website, Wenger said;
“It is a special game because of the history, because of the size of the two clubs, because of the quality of the teams and because of what is at stake on Monday night. We know it will be down to workrate and solidarity again.”
With Arsenal it is not just down to workrate and solidarity, however, it is the mental side of the game that is the problem. We are good enough to beat United, I just don't think, for whatever reason the players ever believe that they are good enough. We will only find that out at 7: 45 tonight, however.

United have been far from impressive this season but are still picking up victories even though there performances have left a lot to be desired. They are without Van Persie, and even though he hasn't had the best of seasons, he has scored in 3 of the 5 games we've played since his acrimonious departure. United are also without Evans due to his ban for that horrible spitting incident with Papiss Cisse in the Newcastle game last Wednesday. Arsenal will be without Gabriel, dues to the hamstring injury picked up against Q.P.R, while it remains to be seen whether or not Monreal and Szzesney make the squad, although both were pictured in training, which can only be good news.

My lineup for the game would be (assuming both players will make the squad);
                Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
                                Coquelin, Ramsey
                     Sanchez                     Chamberlain
Bench: Ospina, Chambers, Monreal, Rosicky, Ozil, Walcott, Welbeck.

I went with both Bellerin and Gibbs to give the defence pace and more natural width, especially given that Uniteds play tends to be more central, so this might be an opportunity for us to exploit during the game. The hardest decision however, was leaving Ozil out as he has been in great form since his return from injury; but this game might require more of a counter attacking approach and both wing players have the pace and energy to really trouble the united defence and assist in defending also. I would bring Ramsey back in beside Coquelin to give the midfield more energy, and with both Ramsey and Coquelin playing, we will have that in abundance. The only area of concern for me is the lack of genuine midfielders so we will need big performances from Ramsey and Coquelin. It might be a bit of a risk bringing Ramsey back in to a game of this magnitude, but i think he can handle it.

Right that's it, Let's hope Arsenal can finally end the Old Trafford hoodoo and get a big win tonight.

P.s. Follow me on twitter,

Subjectively, Cosmic Kid.

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