Written by BigRaddy
The words Old Trafford always brings a shiver down the spine because Man Utd are the biggest club in football. Perhaps Barca and Real could dispute their crown but MU play in a competitive league which they have dominated for quarter of a century. I always get excited by this fixture, it is one of the glamour games of the year and when both teams are on form almost guarantees an enthralling spectacle – however neither side is on form at present and I fear the worldwide audience will be disappointed if they expect a feast of football akin to the recent Barca v Real game.
Speaking to Arsenal fans at the Emirates and my Goonermates worldwide, there is a strong sense of foreboding – they expect us to lose tonight, which I find perplexing. I know United have only lost 2 points at home this season but we have very good away form. We are scoring freely on the road and MU are trying to incorporate a damaged goods Rooney. We are top of the League and United are not.
The positives for us are the wonderful form of Nasri and the mercurial Arshavin. Should they both play well we can and will win. We need to adopt an aggressive policy from the start and retain ball possession. The defence has to stay solid and be aware thet United do not play route one but attack at speed down the flanks – Clichy will need to be fully concentrated.
There is rumour that Fabianski is injured and that Chesney may start? If true then what better way to start your PL career with a clean sheet at OT?
Then there is the question of Cesc . Should we play him if he is back to fitness? In my opinion he has to start if fully fit, this is not a player who needs to be nursed through with warm up games, he is too important and too good. That said, this is just 3 points in a long season and should he be anything less than 100% he must be rested, playing a 20 minute cameo should we be losing by a single goal at 70 mins.
The team almost picks itself:
We all know about United, their problems and strengths are highlighted all over the media.
Tonight’s game is being watched by football fans all over the world, there will be hundreds of millions of viewers and the match will require a strong referee who will neither be influenced by the spite of Sir Alex nor attempt to be the centre of attraction. Tonight’s referee is Howard Webb, who by any standards has had a fantastic year; to ref the 2 biggest games in World football and then be handed the honour of tonight’s game is a huge accolade. He is not a favourite at Old Trafford because (so far) he hasn’t given the expected home decisions. Should he stamp down on Nani and Rooney’s diving plus Fletcher and Scholes savagery, we will have a chance. If not, it could be a long night.
At some point our team has to gel again. We have played wonderful football at times this season and the dreaded November has passed – we can and will win this game unless Lady Luck fortunes Man Utd (as usual!).