Saturday 3 November 2012

United Away! A Chance To Bury A Few Ghosts | Yes, We Can!

Opta Stats
*ManUre have won seven and lost none of the last eight matches against Arsenal at Old Trashford in all competitions.
*Shrek scored his first Premier League goal, his first in the PL for ManUre and his 100th Premier League goal against Arsenal.
*The Gunners have scored just 10 goals in 20 Premier League visits to Old Trashford, with last season (8-2 defeat) being the only time they have netted two in one game.
This fixture hasn't favoured us in the last few years as the stats show. In fact our last visit to the Old Trashcan was the one that threw up that ignoble 8-2 scoreline for which I have had to see a shrink to see if hypnosis could be used to erase that particular bit from my memory bank. It didn't work.

There are a couple of videos on Youtube that I've had to depend on over the past couple of years for a modicum of perverse satisfaction about this fixture. The first has Viera and Keane in the tunnel at Highbury waiting to lead the teams unto the field. Viera smugly urges the poker-faced Keane to smile and Keane responds with, "I'd be smiling if we were 12 points clear but we are not."

No, it was Arsenal that was 12 points clear. It was the Invincibles season and we went on to win the league.

The second is probably my favourite, where another Dutch %#&% (fill in the blanks) named Nistelrooy got Viera sent off then missed a penalty that would have won United the game in the last minute of the match. I never tire of seeing the manic Martin Keown launch himself at the Dutch #%&# after the final whistle. Who in the current team can do the same to the latest Dutch $#%& who makes a return today to the ship he deserted last summer? Really don't see anyone with the stomach for a good old fashioned scrap when the occasion demands it. That is one of the things I see wrong with this team.

Have seen some really zippy encounters between us and United especially when Viera and Keane captained the teams respectively and I kind of miss the competitive spirits both sides displayed then. The fixture was treated like a blood sport back then and rightly so. One side has wanted it more in recent times and as the stats show they have won it more.

Back to the present. We go into this one without our first choice left back, Gibbs so that Brazilian left-back with a sunny disposition and questionable defensive abilities is likely to start again. It's anyone's guess what the old, wily Scotsman with a red, rubbery nose and an endless supply of chewing gum will instruct his wards to do. "Run at Santos, run at Santos and run at Santos again!"

He's a weak link and they will be looking to exploit that chink in the amour. Many have called for Wenger to use Sagna in the LB position and start Jenkinson on the right. It's a short term solution that I think we should use in this fixture but AW has a way of worrying about hurting feelings and I suspect he will first put into consideration what this will do to Andre's confidence. Be ruthless Arsene, these boys ain't China -they won't break!

Per and Verm start at center half. This should be a given now. Unless injuries dictate different. Koscielny should be doing detention right about now. Write one thousand times, 'I'll never score an own goal again". Every day for three weeks.

Rumours had it Szczesny was going to be making his return to the team in this game but latest team news has him still on the sidelines so we continue with Don Vito in goal. Fingers crossed.

Theo who was magnificent in mid week against Reading is expected to start this one on the right side of mid field hopefully with Ramsey proving really ineffective in that position. Catch is Theo played all of 120 minutes in that game and the manager may be reluctant to stretch him further given his injury record but like I said they're not China. If it doesn't kill him it will make him stronger.

Ox is still out, as well as Gervinho which really limits our options in that position. I strongly suspect we're limited to Ramsey starting out wide while Theo will be brought on as an impact substitute in the second half.

Gnabry should be an option on that right wing but I will be reluctant to use him in a high profile game like this with its attendant pressures. Instead Arshavin should be given a chance. He is experienced and in fact did enough at Reading to merit the chance. Problem will be getting him to stay committed for all of the time he spends on the field. Against United, you stay committed for the whole 90 minutes

Jack and Arteta  should start in front of the back four while Cazorla and Podolski make up the midfield while Giroud leads the line.

Mannone, Jenks, Per, Verm, Sagna, Arteta, Jack, Cazorla, Poldi, Ramsey, Giroud. Not ideal but considering injuries et al, that is my predicted starting 11.

United have scored the most goals this season but they have well known issues in their back line and have leaked quite a few goals too while we have conceded the least goals in the Premiership. So this really is a winnable one for us.

A 1-0 scoreline in our favour will go a long way in ridding me of the demons of that Sunday August afternoon last season. In fact, it will cure all the maladies that I've been afflicted with as a result of that bashing.

Let's do this, boys! Yes, we can!

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  1. Let's bring back Viera! hahahahahahaha

  2. Lol @ that picture. Look at the rage in Lauren's eyes and phil Neville is visibly scared

  3. this fixture ain't what it used to be. hate to say it but i'll take a draw from this one before the ball is kicked


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Naija End Gooner