Arsenal v Manchester United Barclays Premier League, Emirates Stadium Saturday, November 08, 2008, 12:45 The goosebumps are ripe, the adverts are massive and of course, there are way too many pictures of Wayne Rooney on TV. It’s the game of the season. The game we all look forward to. In modern time, you cannot get bigger than this game. But this game is different. This year, United are the current Premier League and Champions League holders and in form. They have their mercurial talent of Ronaldo back and splashed out over £30 million to secure the services of Dimitar Berbatov. Meanwhile, back at home in the Emirates, we’re going through the worst form under Arsene’s management. In the last two years, we’ve lost our talisman and captain, Thierry Henry, our other captain, Gilberto and the talents of Hleb, Flamini, Lehmann and Diarra. We’ve lost three games to lower opposition including a home game against Hull. To top it all off, we’ve lost the services of our two main strikers in Adebayor and Van Persie. We lost our energetic right winger in Theo Walcott. We’ve lost our captain Gallas to injury as well as long term absentees Rosicky and Eduardo. This year, the two teams couldn’t be further apart. But, a game is just a game, and with Arsenal vs United, form goes out the window. We’re on the line at the moment and a win against our old rivals is worth more than 3 points. Our stand in captain has been speaking ahead of the game:
“Beating Manchester United would definitely turn things around for us. A win would be really fantastic for us and would show that we’d be there for the title. But it’s not a must-win, it’s just another game. We know that the Premier League is really long, we are not in the second half yet. “We just need to take it as a really important game and show United and those big clubs that we are there to fight for the title. It’s going to be a good game and we will show them we are still in the race for the title. We are fourth at the moment. We are six points behind but the season is really long. We just need to play game by game and win matches.”With Ade and Bendtner out for the game, we’ll surely have Vela and Bendtner up front. Toure spoke on the pairing:
“The younger players have shown that they can handle the pressure. When the boss gives them the chances, they score. Vela scored three goals against Sheffield United (in the Carling Cup). It wasn’t a really easy game and he showed he is a good striker. He is progressing really well. “Bendtner is doing really well too, he is doing his best at the moment. Obviously he didn’t score against Fenerbahce [on Wednesday] but I think on Saturday if he gets a chance he will do it. The United defenders are a good test. It’s up to them to show now that it doesn’t matter against who they play, they can take their chances.”And it’s more than important that the two play to their best. Bendtner’s game hasn’t been great in the last few games. After a good start to the season he’s added an element of clumsiness to his game which has seen him find it hard to control the ball. On the other hand, Vela has shown some excellent dribbling skills and we all know he knows how to finish. It’s a big game to make your home debut in the starting XI. Arsene’s been speaking ahead of the game and has rated both Theo and Gallas as 50:50, but sources say that Theo will definitely not be ready. Some say that he may take a pain killing injection if he has to play, but if we have to do that, there is something seriously wrong with the size or quality of our squad.
“Mikael has a broken nose with an open wound on the side. Basically he should be capable of playing. But in the next 48 hours I will have to decide what we do. You cannot rule him out and I feel he can play. But I have to decide whether I go for the gamble or not. “We will not know about Walcott and Gallas before tomorrow afternoon. It is 50:50 for both. But Manuel Almunia was back in training today so he will be available.” “As for Sagna, there was a gamble on him that I did not want to take [last night]. We could not take it today in training either. He still needed to be out of impact work. I think he should be OK for Saturday but there is still a slight concern.”With Arsene’s sentiments about Gallas and Silvestre he may think it’s the right thing to say but in reality, 24 hours before the game, both players are pretty much out of the match considering all facts. So who’s going to play….?
|Sagna Right Back||Djourou Centre Back||Toure Centre Back||Clichy Left Back|
|Nasri Right Wing||Song Midfielder||Cesc Midfielder||Diaby Left Wing|
|Bendtner Striker||Vela Support Striker|