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Arsenal vs Man Utd: Preview

Arsenal Club Crest  Manchester United Crest

A very good morning to you all, depending on where you are reading this from. Today, Arsenal host Man Utd at the Emirates Stadium in a lunch time kick off. I know, this lunch time thing is not quite so popular with many fans in the UK. But again, with a game like this there wouldn’t be too many complaints. The atmosphere would be as intense as it has always been.

Then again, depending on which part of the world you are the timing would be either perfect or would be downright uncomfortable.

We stop digressing and move on to the main topic of the day, which is Football Manager 2008 the Arsenal game.

The press has been salivating over this encounter and so are we. Personally, there is this tinge of excitement about the game mixed with fear that arises over a certain degree of grudging respect for the opposition. The press, meanwhile, has talked at length about the Keane-Viera encounters of the past, and depending on the bias on the part of a journalist, you will have got a certain picture about the game.

Arsene Wenger says that this game will be a masterpiece. We all do hope for such a masterpiece, with the difference that we will emerge triumphant at the end.

SAF termed it a “mouthwatering prospect” while saying a few words about the importance of winning things at the end of the day:

“In a few years’ time I want to be saying that my players are the best in the world because at this moment in time they are showing those signs,” said Ferguson. “But maturity brings the authority and consistency, and what is also important is what have they won?”

Very true indeed. While we talk a lot about Arsenal’s kids, it remains to be seen if they can win it with what they have, so far. If they do, then fair play to them. The same applies to us, despite us winning the title last season. That hunger to win things is what has driven both managers to such long term tenures at their respective clubs.

Anyway, on to the players who’ll make today’s game, Wenger hinted that Gilberto might actually make the starting XI against United. His appearance in their Carling Cup stroll over Sheffield United might have been an opportunity to give the Brazilian a run out. I suppose, Wenger would prefer to play his experience over Flamini. It must also be noted that if we play Anderson, Gilberto has had a close look at the lad when they went for their Copa America tournament in the summer.

Moving on to our squad, Carrick and Saha (surprise, surprise!) have been included. Whilst, it is unlikely that Saha would start, Carrick’s situation represents a dilemma for the boss. The player does offer a fair bit to the team by keeping things simple. Ball retention is vital in such games. But Anderson has seemed to be the more penetrative one — who, in the presence of Hargreaves, has been allowed to roam freely sending his pin point passes. Playing Anderson would be a bold move, something I would applaud the boss for doing. But if he decided to play Carrick, I wouldn’t be too worried.

My main worry would be if he chucked the 4-4-2 formation in favour of a three man midfield that would leave one striker upfront on his own. That would mean a very cagey approach by us. I would love it if the team remained the same as the last one.

Don Howe, who is an Arsenal fan, writes in the Telegraph on tactics and training and makes for an interesting read.

Vidic is fully focused ahead of the game and has vowed to ensure a clean sheet. Getting that against a rampant Arsenal side would represent a psychological victory for the defence. Our defenders were guilty, in the last couple of games, of conceding goals that were borne out of some basic defending errors. I put that down to them not being as intense as they were at the start (when goals were hard to come by) and seemed rather confident that our attack would overhaul any deficit. This kind of an attitude, though, would be suicidal today.

For more match related details, the BBC has a comprehensive preview here.

Meanwhile Owen Hargreaves thinks that he needs to take good care of his knee so that his problems do no resurface.

The game promises to be a cracker and I will certainly be up for this one. Here’s hoping we thump them at their backyard, after their sickening double over us last year.

Come on you reds!!! Bring on Arsenal!

Prediction: 2-1 to United, Rooney, Tevez to score.

Feel free to discuss away before, during and after the game. I may or may not update the title of this post. Depending on how engrossed in the game I will be.