Three points stand in between Manchester United and the summit. Hoping pretenders Tottenham do the job against a Toureless City early in the day, then Ferguson’s job won’t get any easier virtually putting Arsenal on the receiving end, a scene the Gunners would eight two remember in a long while. Wenger’s football policy has of late come under serious questioning, the ’next season’ song has been sang enough at the emirates, on the other hand, Ferguson’s policy seems to be stagnating. A group stage exit at the Champions league should probably be the worst thing to ever happen to a previous loosing finalist, but that’s the language of football, tears, smiles and disappointments.
The injuries plagueing the two teams will not really give us a good game as compared to if each team had its best on the pitch. The 34 year talisman Henry strained his calf recently and if that wasn’t bad enough, the Gunners would do without the midfield duo of Arteta and Wilshere, Left backs Santos, Gibbs alongside Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson a situation that puts them in a very vulnerable position against a good Manchester front line. Thomas Vermelen is expected to return but that news may have to wait till the final squad is released a few hours to kickoff something to watch out for. The frontline lacks the Ivorian Gervinho but on a good day, RVP should do some damage alongside Walcott and a consistent Song playing right behind him.
The Trafford team on the other hand has its own fitness and form concerns ahead of this match. What shouldn’t be forgotten is that in these derbies, every player seems to give his best. Phil Jones started strongly but seems to have lost his form and the own goals he has conceded amounting to three, Nemanja Vidic is out of action for probably a long time. Goalkeeping problems seems to compound every day at Manchester since the departure of Van Der Sar and should De Gea start tomorrow, you bet him to concede a goal. The depleted midfield sees the return of the big man, Paul Scholes, a player Wenger once claimed to have a darker side to his game. A good Arsenal midfield would probably have him booked at least once, should he continue his poor tackling, then a second one would not be ruled out. Chicharito who has struggled with fitnesss this season has never scored against Arsenal and is bound to continue his poor form tomorrow. Berbatov’s season is always consistent but a good day in office for the Bulgarian should spell doom for the Gunners. Rooney is so used to these matches and a goal for him won’t be surprising. Welbecks ability before goal is still questionable since he does so many rounds in the injury room, leaving the young Englishman so frustrated.
So on the whole, Arsenal are not in so bad a position going into the game taking into account the first team players available to play, their backline should really give Wenger a head ache but he’s lost for choice in the midfielding roles. Then again Arsenal haven’t shown so much confidence in front of goal, loosing the last two matches, a horrible draw at Wolves and a slim one nil win at QPR has done little to convince the Emirates faithful a trophy would be coming their way any soon. They’ll have to hope Man U are similarly depleted as on paper. The ‘never say die’ attitude roaming in the Red Devil’s hearts should see them see off Arsenal with a slim margin or if not win, then set up a nervy finish for the Arsenal crowd.
Back to back stuff at the Emirates should be the talking point of Monday morning in several offices across the globe. With the top four now dominated by not so familiar faces, the resurrection of Arsenal’s season continues and the chase for the top by Manchester United continues. Thus it’s never over till it’s over.