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Arsenal v Man Utd: Preview

We kick off today’s preview with a brief word on David Gill’s interview with BBC Sport [read it in full, here]

In the interview he talks Rooney, Ferguson, the ownership, the transfer funds, among other things, and it’s unlikely we’re bound to know something earth-shatteringly new. Such it goes.

“Unless Alex agreed to it, we would not accept an offer, regardless of the value, for a player we want to keep,” is what he said about Rooney and the rumours swirling around about his sale.

Rooney himself was on record saying he won’t be leaving United. And I, for one, believe him. I’ve seen past interviews of the lad, and he’s said stuff to the effect of, “can you really see me play anywhere outside England?” And the only way I can every see Rooney leave is if the board forced Ferguson’s hand.

He spoke about how the £500m debts are a misconception and stressed that the Glazers were in this for the long run. However the example he cited was a bad one:

“They will only get value back by ensuring the team continues to be successful, continues to attract exciting players and continues to produce results off the pitch. The Glazer family bought (American football team) the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995 and 15 years later, they still own that – they are in it for the long-term.”

Just google Tampa Bay Buccaneers finances or something to that effect, and you’ll see what kind of hell their fans are going through.

Anyway, moving on to more pressing matters, there’s a match today against Arsenal and the most significant result last week was Arsenal’s draw at Villa Park. This gives us the chance to go four points over the gunners, and close our gap on league leaders, Chelsea. Chelsea, who went top thanks to a header from “his mate’s” wife-shagger and England’s Brave, John Terry. I am not wasting inches going into the wheres and whys he shouldn’t carry on as England captain, but you’d have thought the book of reasons to hate John Terry was already full by now when, all of a sudden, you now have enough scope for a sequel.

A reasonable article to lead this off should be the one by Amy Lawrence of the Guardian — a well known Arsenal fan — who highlights the main stars of this clash: Fabregas (who’s still only 22!) and Rooney (who’s 24, although I’d have thought he was younger) Of course, it does resort a bit towards cliches we’ve become all too familiar with; Fabregas and Fergie — ‘pizzagate’, Rooney and Wenger — the number of times he’s dominated Arsenal.

Still, read it as you attempt to whet your appetite ahead of the match.

A quickie — read this piece where Keith Harris, a takeover-broker and a United fan, says he’s been approached by several rich United fan investors. I’ll try to write up something detailed on this later on, but do read it if you have the time.

Regarding the starting XI, I’m convinced Ferguson will opt for a 4-5-1 formation — one that he has employed with much success recently. But it will no doubt, isolate Rooney up front. Nani should undoubtedly start, but he’ll be on the left while Valencia will start on the right. Fletcher, Carrick and one of either Anderson or Scholes will be the third mid fielder.

Vidic is reported to replace Ferdinand, who’ll begin the first of a ridiculous four-match suspension.

Arsenal have their share of injuries. Vermaelen was the latest casualty, in mid week. Which means, Sol Campbell could make a start, and hopefully Rooney will take full advantage of that.

Cesc Fabregas was on record as saying this is the biggest game of the season for him, and fair play to him. It’s a pretty important match for both sides in a statement-of-intent sort of way, although not necessarily a deal breaker as far as the title race goes.

Anyway, onto the predictions: 2-1 to United, I guess. Hopefully this proves to be yet another cracking game of football.

[Off I go to watch Federer play Murray and hopefully win yet another grand slam.]