Feb 12, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT
- Gunners have six-straight clean sheets at the Emirates across all competitions
- Manchester United has taken just four of its last 12 points.
- Arsenal hasn’t lost at home since Oct. 29 to Chelsea in the Capital One Cup
Arsenal has four matches before embarking on an absolutely-brutal stretch of matches, so points are crucial against a Manchester United team that’s down but has routinely had their number (Watch live today on NBCSN at 245pm ET or online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger can achieve a lot in today’s match. First, he can restore order to his squad after a brutal 5-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool on the weekend moved them from atop the Premier League table. Arsenal can also make some moves to dismiss a Red Devils who has haunted them in the past half-decade.
Manchester United holds a 12W-3D-2L record against Arsenal in their last 17 contests, including last year’s 8-2 throttling. But the Red Devils have been down, dropping points at Old Trafford to Fulham on the weekend and sitting in an unfamiliar seventh in the table… with Southampton creeping in their rear view mirror. Oh, but good news… they’re still printing stacks on stacks of dough, even if Roy Keane is back questioning Sir Alex Ferguson (the day ends in a ‘y’, doesn’t it?).
What they’re saying
Wenger on the match: “As well as banishing the Liverpool game from our minds, we’ll be looking to better our performance from the match at Old Trafford in November. It was a tight game but we weren’t at our best; a few of the guys weren’t very well on the day, but we weren’t dangerous enough overall and, despite our possession, didn’t threaten them enough to score.”
United winger Ashley Young on both squads facing adversity: “I’m sure if we can impose ourselves on the game as well as we have done in [other] games at different stages, we’ll go there and get the three points. But you always expect a reaction from a team that had such a defeat like that [at Liverpool]. It’s one of them where they will look back and try to put things right – especially being at home as well and playing against a United team. They will definitely want to put things right but we want to turn things around and put things right too. We want to go out there and be on the front foot, playing the way we can.”
Ask yourself: isn’t this match simply loaded with challenges to traditional perception? In this season’s form, Arsenal bounces back and just toys with Manchester United… but that just hasn’t happened between these two clubs. In the Premier League world we know, where the Red Devils are giants and giant-killers, they knock Arsenal down a peg and continue a Gunner collapse into a European spot battleground. Here’s a call, and not a very confident one: Arsenal 2, Manchester United 2.
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