Playing away at Anfield will always be one of the biggest games in a league calendar, however ask any Arsenal fan and they would say that yesterday’s game was not the most important one Arsenal will play in these short time period. The most important game for Arsenal has, and always will be the game against Manchester United- ie the one coming up on November 3rd.
Local rivals Tottenham provide a source of amusement, but quite frankly aren’t very good; Manchester United Football Club provide a match that can both be challenging to the extreme (see last season’s two games) while also occasionally thrown up the odd amusing moment (ie Fergie getting whacked in the face with a slice of pizza). While Liverpool are a team that will challenge for Europe, the real team that Arsenal will have to do well against if they want to win the title is Manchester United, and I’m sure all the players and the fans know this.
After yesterday’s draw, Manchester United cut the gap at the top to just goal difference and the game in hand; should they pull off a win next week then they will be three points ahead with the game in hand (ie level). While this would not be the worse scenario, as Arsenal would still have a chance to do level should they beat Newcastle; it must not be allowed to happen.
Once Manchester United get in front, they rarely, if ever relinquish their grip on the title, so what this youthful Gunner side must do is win. Unfortunately, as the game is at home I fear it may have a negative effect on the team- I would have much preferred it to be at Old Trafford.
Normally games being at home (in this case the Emirates Stadium) is good for a team, however here I feel it may work against us. With this advantage, Arsenal will surely be expected to come off better of the two sides- however I don’t think that any Gooner would be displeased with a draw.
Why? Well, since Manchester United are away from home, and risk being destroyed by our brand of attacking football if they decide to come out and attack, they will try to kick us off the park- I guarantee this. Liverpool tried this a few times yesterday- most noticeably the angelic Jamie Carragher, who should have been sent off after his tug in the penalty box and his elbow on Eboue, however Manchester United are far ‘better’ – most Arsenal fans (and Jose Reyes in particular) will remember the day where they pulled off a win after not even attempting to play football.
Manchester United are one of the best teams in the world at going forward, but not even they can match Arsenal at its finest. If Arsenal play the football that everyone knows they are capable of, they will have a very good chance of winning next week. If Arsenal play the football that everyone knows they are capable of, and take at least 50% of the chances they make… they will thrash Man Utd.
Sadly, everyone knows Arsenal’s weak point is their finishing- despite them having scored the most goals in the league this season, they could have scored a lot, lot more had they taken more of the chances like the two sitters they passed up against Liverpool – it was not the first time this year they have missed such easy chances, and it will certainly not be the last. Manchester United on the other hand create fewer chances every game, but score a higher percentage of them.
For the team news, it is hard to see who will play. It is likely we will see a similar formation as yesterday – ie 4-5-1 with Adebayor up top on his own, and as that worked well last season there is no reason why it won’t this. Adebayor has played far worse than he is capable of these last few games but let’s hope he puts in a similar performance to the one he did last year at Old Trafford, where he terrorized their back four for the full ninety minutes, culminating of course in that late winner.
It will be good to see the likes of Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner on the bench; I do feel they are up to the task, and will prove themselves worthy should they be required to come on and change the game. I’m sure the writers on Soccerlens who support Manchester United will have their say soon enough so I’ll try not to keep you waiting; let’s hope that they do not try to irritate y’all as much as I hope to do 😀
Prediction: 2-1 win for the Gunners.
You can follow the Arsenal v Manchester United game live here on Soccerlens on Saturday.