Sunday, 31 January 2010

Man Utd vs. Arsenal match preview

I'm nervous about today's match against ManUre, but not as nervous as I might be.

Things are so tight at the top of the league at the moment and we are definitely entering squeeky bum time as [spit] Sir Alex Ferguson might say. However, although a win today will be a big boost, it won't guarantee that we win the league and similarly a loss will be a big blow but it won't mean that we aren't going to win the title.

That sounds like I'm building us up for a loss, and to some extent I am, but I believe this is a match that can easily go either way, won by a moment of brilliance, a moment of madness (like Diaby's own goal last time), or more likely a dodgy referring decision or three in ManUre's favour like we've seen so many times in the past, so I'm just bracing myself in case the worst case scenario happens.

I might be a bit more confident (or less) about the result when I've seen the respective line-ups for the match. Most importantly, we need Alex Song to be playing in front of the back four. He brings a stability to that position that Denilson can't match and I feel a lot better when he's playing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these people who don't rate Denilson, but I think he's better in a more advanced position. I'm just not confident when he's playing in front of the back four. In fact, I'd perhaps rather Craig Eastmond playing in that position if Song isn't available. Eastmond is still young and inexperienced and will have the odd bad match, but from what I've seen of him so far he looks to have a lot of potential. I think the chances of Eastmond being picked to start today's match though are pretty much zero.

At the back, I think Sol Campbell looked pretty good when he came on against Villa (one notable incident apart) and I believe he can do a good job against ManUre, but against the very tricky Wayne Rooney I would just be that little bit more confient if we have the more pacey and in form Vermaelen back, as long as he's fit enough to play. Please let it be so!

Up front, Eduardo has been off-form this season since the much publicised diving incident but has looked much better in recent weeks and in the last couple of matches Arsene Wenger has trusted him to play the central striker's role, so he obviously agrees with me. Eduardo is doubtful though for today's match after going off injured against Villa. However, I think that Nicolas Bendtner could have a big influence on today's match if Wenger gives him a chance, even if only from the bench. Like Sol Campbell, he looked good when he came on against Villa. He didn't get any goalscoring chances but he looked very sharp, he held the ball up well and he passed it around well. And those are all things with not really seen on a consistent basis from our main striking position since RVP got injured. Bendy has been making some pretty bold statements in the press this week about his ability and how he hopes to cement his place in the side while RVP is unavailable. He has come in for a fair bit of stick from Arsenal fans in the past and now is the time to prove that he can deliver on the pitch what he has promised off it. I'm not sure how fit he is though having been out for quite a while.

Update: Eduardo is definitely out. I hope that Arsene Wenger picks Bendtner in the centre but I'm afraid he might go with a front three of Nasri, Ashavin and Rosicky, with Arshavin being given the central role, which should at least make us a bit stronger defensively.

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