Arsenal travel to Manchester on Monday night looking to end an embarrassing run at Old Trafford.
Here’s everything they need to know to make sure they end the jinx United hold over them.
|Manager||Louis van Gaal|
|Home Ground||Old Trafford (76,212)|
|Record Signing||Angel Di Maria (£60m in 2014)|
|Ex Gunners||Robin Van Persie|
|Top Scorer||Wayne Rooney (11)|
|Top Assister||Angel Di Maria (8)|
|Most Yellow Cards||Marcos Rojo (7)|
|Star Player||David De Gea|
|Biggest Liability||Ashley Young|
STYLE OF PLAY
Van Gaal’s incessant tinkering makes this a hard one to call, and the formation is anyone’s guess.
It will be interesting to see if the Dutchman pays any heed to criticism of his long ball tactic with Fellaini, and Arsenal will hope he starts on the bench.
With Van Persie injured (again!) Falcao and Rooney will likely provide the main threats up front, with United still very focussed on the wing play that was such a trademark under Ferguson. Di Maria, Valencia and Young are all likely to attain starting births and Arsenal’s wingers will need to work hard to counteract the United wingbacks on the overlap.
Ander Herrera has grown into life in English football and looks a threat, while Blind offers a solid platform beside him. They are the key to United’s performance, and if we can keep them from playing at their respective bests then we have every chance.
In defence, United are a bit more piecemeal, with Jonny Evans starting a six game ban for the despicable act of spitting at a fellow professional, as well as question marks over the fitness of Luke Shaw.
Whether Van Gaal fields three, four or even five at the back, it will be up to our midfield maestros to pull the strings and open up the United defence.
United typically have a lot of possession and press the opposition, but given that on this occasion that’s Arsenal, they are more likely to sit back and invite us on to them. Patience will be a critical factor, and it is more important for us to focus on not making any mistakes than to chase victory.
After all, it is better to be in the hat with a replay at the Emirates in store than out altogether.
SEASON SO FAR
Louis Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford at the start of this season off the back of a World Cup campaign with the Netherlands where he was hailed as a genius for subbing goalkeeper Tim Krul onto the pitch for a penalty shootout. Over time, his decisions have been a little less successful, and shown that moment to be something closer to good luck.
United’s form at the start of the season was fairly abysmal, with an opening day loss to Swansea followed by two rather uninspiring draws with Sunderland and Burnley. In between those two games, a side which prides itself on walloping lower league opposition under Fergie was unceremoniously dumped out of the Capital One Cup in a 4-0 mailing by MK Dons.
Results have improved somewhat since, if not the performances, and despite various unfavourable comparisons with David Moyes’ achievements the previous season, they continue to pick up points despite playing terribly.
Six back-to-back wins between November and December did wonders in helping get the club back in and around the top four, and since the new year they have racked up wins against the three promoted teams as well as Sunderland and Newcastle. The same sort of teams they were dropping points to in their early season travails.
With no European football and the early League Cup exit, van Gaal’s focus is on regaining Champions League football and a solitary trophy prospect in the FA Cup. Arsene will hope to cause him problems in both.
An early scare in the cup meant a replay with Cambridge United but they will face an altogether sterner test against an Arsenal side which has won its last five domestic matches.
Arsenal’s last 5 results against Manchester United: LDLDL
|League||22/11/2014||(H)||L 1-2||Arsenal: Giroud (90)
Man Utd: Gibbs OG (56) Rooney (85)
|League||12/02/2014||(H)||D 0-0||Arsenal: –
Man Utd: –
|League||10/11/2013||(A)||L 0-1||Arsenal: –
Man Utd: Van Persie (27)
|League||28/04/2013||(H)||D 1-1||Arsenal: Walcott (2)
Man Utd: Van Persie (44 pen)
|League||03/11/2012||(A)||L 1-2||Arsenal: Cazorla (90)
Man Utd: Van Persie (3) Evra (67)
Record for Manchester United v Arsenal:
Overall record between the two clubs:
Head to Head:
Manchester United’s last 5 results: WWLWW
|League||Sunderland||(H)||W 2-0||Rooney (2)|
|FA Cup||Preston||(A)||W 3-1||Herrera, Fellaini, Rooney|
|League||Burnley||(H)||W 3-1||Smalling (2), Van Persie|