Friday, 21 November 2014

Arsenal To Beat United And Kick Start Their Season

It's not been a great season so far for Arsenal and they need some sort of catalyst to kick start it for them. Of course injuries haven't helped and the under investment in defensive positions in last summer's transfer window didn't exactly help either. The team just haven't clicked on the pitch for any reasonable stretch of games and they need to put a run of good results together to boost confidence and make inroads on the team's above them.

Their return of 17 points from 11 games isn't good enough for a team who claimed to have title ambitions before the season started. They're already 12 points behind the leaders Chelsea, but the good news is they're ahead of Liverpool, United, Everton and of course Spurs. If they finish the season ahead of those four teams they should at least be able to claim the "trophy" of a top four finish. 

Arsenal have had real problems playing the better teams in the last few seasons and their recent record against United is far from impressive. United were a pale shadow of their former selves last season and yet Arsenal failed to take more than one point off them or even score a goal against them. If they can raise their game enough to finally get the upper hand on United it would surely be the tonic the team need just ahead of the busiest month of the season.

It's good to see Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud back in the squad again after their injuries and Mikel Arteta is available again too after his most recent injury. I would be surprised if any of them played from the start although I think Arteta is a better fit for the team than Mathieu Flamini if he's up to starting. The other two are great options to have on the bench and will add some real quality to the squad at a time when it is much needed.

The star player for Arsenal so far this season has been Alexis Sanchez and he has to play from the start despite his long journey back from South America after the international break. His value to the team at the moment is almost incalculable and the sight of him in the starting team has to be as much of a boost to the players as it is to the fans. He's the best player in the Premier League at the moment and the most likely player to win the game for either team.

With the current injury situation the team isn't going to be too different to the one which lost away to Swansea the last time out. The players will have to give an awful lot more if they're going to beat United and they could all take a leaf out of Alexis's book. The energy and commitment he shows should be an inspiration to his team mates and hopefully that will prove to be the case against United.

Of course United have had injury problems of their own and have also been far from impressive so far this season. They have failed to win any of their five away games so far and have looked just as vulnerable as Arsenal in defence. Hopefully the difference between the teams will come in Arsenal's midfield where they have more quality available even if Mesut Ozil is out until the new year.

While United have some genuine attacking quality in the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Angel di Maria they haven't exactly gelled this season and it's difficult to see how they can get any real value from the loan deal for Radamel Falcao. They have had very little return from him so far and I would be surprised to see him start against Arsenal.

It should be an intriguing and interesting game as both teams look to impose their own style on the game. I'd prefer to see Arsenal sit a little deeper and try to hit a slow and vulnerable United defence on the break with the pace of Alexis, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck. So often in the past ex Arsenal players have come back to haunt us maybe it's time for some payback through United old boy Welbeck.

He has shown a real eye for goal on international duty this season while most of his Arsenal goals came in the game against Galatasaray. They played exactly the way which suits Welbeck's game and I'd love to see United push up and leave space behind their defence too. It would be great to see Welbeck run through one on one with the keeper and finish in the Thierry Henry style like he did against Galatasaray.

United will have their own ex Arsenal player on show and nothing would make me happier than seeing van Persie's face as he is being hauled off with United a few goals down. The Arsenal fans will let him know exactly how they feel about him from first minute to last and he deserves all the abuse they give him as long as it's not overtly offensive. He will never be a legend at United and he wasn't one at Arsenal either and his career is quickly fading towards it's end.

It's a game both teams really need to win and neither of them can afford to lose. I have no doubt Arsenal are good enough to win the game, but I just don't know if they will show that quality. I can only hope they do and get a couple of monkeys off their backs at the one time by winning and winning convincingly. 

Regular readers will know I always predict an Arsenal win and this game is no different, but I genuinely think they can and will do it. I know the team have already let us down so many times this season with sub standard performances, but they need to make a stand to point the way forward and I think this will be the game where they do it. If they don't it won't stop me supporting them of course, but another little part inside of me will die yet again.

I've being toying with the idea of introducing a bit of sparkle to my blog recently and I'm going to give it a go with the help of some others. I have to give special thanks  to the people at who produced the infographic below with their own breakdown of the game, the teams and some key stats plus match odds of course. Check them out if you get a chance it's well worth it.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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