Football 2 years ago

Preview: Arsenal Vs Manchester United

  • Preview: Arsenal Vs Manchester United
  • Preview: Arsenal Vs Manchester United

Arsenal's defensive naivety let them down again, handing Olympiakos a historic win in England, to put their Champions League campaign in jeopardy. As an international break draws nearer, any result other than a win against Manchester United would make things worse at The Emirates Stadium. 

How strange a feeling could it be if Arsenal are league-leaders come Sunday night? No wonder it'd be barely believable but the upcoming challenge against Manchester United offers them the opportunity to do just that, given they beat the visitors and Manchester City lose another. But, all of that (the league table) seems so insignificant at a time when a win is all that is needed, which makes the fixture even more important. 

For the past decade, all Arsenal Vs Manchester United have had the same pattern - the former dominate, but the latter take the points because they had a simply better team at times, and the right mentality later on. You don't need to go too far to be able to find an example that proves exactly that. The last time these two met at The Emirates Stadium, the Gunners could have had anything in excess of five goals, but they simply failed to capitalise on their attacks (see the statistics below) The result? United landed the sucker punch. 

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Match statistics

Arsenal1 - 2Man Utd
11101120ASSISTSFREE KICKSPENALTIES
181082211268267517TOTAL SHOTSSHOTS ON TARGETSHOTS OFF TARGETCROSSESCORNERSTHROW INS
14108645SAVESBLOCKSCLEARANCES
11122041810OFFSIDESHANDBALLSFOULSYELLOW CARDSRED CARDS

    Arsenal's problem have always been psychological ones. They have a tendency to go missing in the big games and even if they do play well, the lack of a cutting edge makes them pay heavily. Louis Van Gaal's side would know exactly what to do - sit back to start with, and hit the home side on the break as they don't like defending. How many times have Manchester United beaten Arsenal that way? Countless. 

    The worries for Arsene Wenger's side won't be going forward - they are bloody brilliant on that front, the problem is when they go forward, they do so fecklessly. There's no one to organise the back four, there's no one berating them on field, so it's no surprise they were murdered by a mediocre Olympiakos. Remember, the result of the upcoming game will be largely dependent on how Arsenal defend because if they do, the visitors are done. 

    Laurent Koscielny's injury may prove to be a blessing in disguise with Gabriel now set to replace him. The Brazilian does seem a warrior, someone who could offer the kind of mental toughness as Patrick Vieira, someone who may berate his team-mates to try and get them organised and that's just what you need in fixtures that have so high an intensity that you can easily wilt. As well as being a really good defender, Gabriel is a strong character too, a leader, and may prove to be the key alongside other big names as Alexis and Theo Walcott - who are proving to be one hell of a partnership, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil. 

     Line-up


    Quotes

    "It is a special fixture because usually Man United are always fighting at the top," Arsene Wenger said. "It has an even bigger meaning now because there are three points between the teams, and we play at home in a big game.

    "We have just come from a big win at Leicester and we want to continue our run. We are the only team who has beaten [Leicester], so I don't see why we should not believe we can beat Manchester United.

    "At the moment it is too difficult to say that any team dominates the championship,” added Wenger. “It is so tight that one point more after seven games does not mean you will suddenly make a big difference in the league.

    "It is settling at the moment and it is a very important time in the Premier League but you cannot come to a conclusion that one team is above everybody else."

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