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1 vs 2
Played
January 22, 2012 4:00 PM GMT
Emirates Stadium — London
Referee:‬ M. Dean‎
Attendance:‬ 60093‎
 

Premier League Preview: Arsenal - Manchester United

Blockbuster clash at the Emirates Stadium sees the Gunners currently four points behind fourth placed Chelsea, while the Red Devils are three points behind leaders Manchester City

By Adithya Ananth


PROBABLE LINEUPS
ARSENAL

Szczesny
Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Miquel
Song, Ramsey, Benayoun
Walcott, Van Persie, Arshavin
MANCHESTER UNITED

Lindegaard
Smalling, Jones, Evans, Evra
Giggs, Scholes, Carrick
Valencia, Rooney, Nani
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is doubtful of being able to field Thomas Vermaelen in this clash, as the defender is recovering from a calf injury. This means that youngster Ignasi Miquel could likely start at left-back if the Belgian is unable to make it in time for this game.

Mikel Arteta missed the 3-2 defeat to Swansea City due to a mild calf strain, and he is expected to remain out of action in this fixture. This should see Yossi Benayoun start again in midfield.

Thierry Henry is a doubt for this game due to a calf injury. He would likely take Andrey Arshavin's place in the line-up if he returns in time.

Meanwhile, Abou Diaby (muscle injury), Francis Coquelin (calf), Kieran Gibbs (hernia), Carl Jenkinson (back), Ryo Miyaichi, Bacary Sagna, Andre Santos and Jack Wilshere (all ankle) are all sidelined with their respective problems. Gervinhoand Marouane Chamakh remain unavailable while on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has Chris Smalling and Phil Jones back in his squad, and the duo will probably return to the starting line-up considering the magnitude of this game - particularly as Rio Ferdinand is regarded as highly doubtful after breaking down in training with a recurrence of a back injury, as exclusively reported by Goal.com. Smalling would go to right-back while Jones could take Ferdinand's place at centre-half.

Paul Scholes could slot in in midfield alongside Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs.

Danny Welbeck is currently nursing a knee injury and remains a doubt for the clash at the Emirates Stadium, which may prompt Sir Alex to push Antonio Valencia and Nani further up the pitch to support Wayne Rooney in their respective wide roles.

Anderson, Tom Cleverley (ankle), Fabio (hamstring), Darren Fletcher (illness), Michael Owen (thigh) and Nemanja Vidic (knee) are all out of action and will play no part in the game against Arsenal.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Arsenal have managed to keep only one clean sheet in their last six games in the Premier League.
  • Their last two matches have ended in defeats, as they stumbled against Fulham and then Swansea City. But their home record provides for better reading as they have gone nine league games without a loss at the Emirates Stadium.
  • Robin van Persie (pictured right) leads the goalscoring charts with 18 to his name in the league and 22 overall. His importance to the team is showcased by the fact that no other Gunner even makes the top 20 goal scorers in the top-flight this season.
  • In the last 10 league games between these two sides, the team playing at home has lost only on one occasion. That was the Red Devils' 3-1 victory in north London in 2010.
  • Manchester United's 8-2 win over the Gunners in the last league game between the two sides was a new record. Until that point, no match between these two teams had resulted in 10 goals being scored in a single game.
  • But prior to that, there had been a nine-goal thriller back in 1958, when the Red Devils managed to secure a 5-4 win away from home in their last domestic match before the Munich Disaster.
  • If all games ended at half-time, United would have been at the top of the table while Arsene Wenger's men would have slipped to sixth in the standings.
  • Throughout the course of history, both sides have scored and conceded over 300 goals against each other. To be precise, the Red Devils have scored 329 times and conceded 305 goals.
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
5Johan DjourouDefender
4Per MertesackerDefender
5Thomas VermaelenDefender
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
14Theo WalcottStriker
20Robin van PersieStriker
15Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainStriker
1Manuel AlmuniaGoalkeeper
18Sébastien SquillaciDefender
48MiquelDefender
10Andrey ArshavinMidfielder
30Yossi BenayounMidfielder
58Nicholas YennarisMidfielder
10Chu-Young ParkStriker
13Anders LindegaardGoalkeeper
4Phil JonesDefender
12Chris SmallingDefender
6Jonny EvansDefender
3Patrice EvraDefender
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
11Ryan GiggsMidfielder
17NaniMidfielder
10Wayne RooneyStriker
19Danny WelbeckStriker
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
35Fabio Da SilvaDefender
2RafaelDefender
13Ji-Sung ParkMidfielder
18Paul ScholesMidfielder
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
14Javier 'Chicharito' HernandezStriker
Players to Watch
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
18 11 2 0
Robin van Persie's performance will likely define the result for the hosts in this game, as they have relied on him heavily to hit the back of the net this season. The Dutchman currently tops the goal scoring charts, and no other Gunner is present in the top 20.

With Thierry Henry being classified as a doubt for this game, it will be up to Van Persie to do what he has done all season to ensure that the Gunners do not lose sight of fourth place.
Anders Lindegaard
Anders Lindegaard
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 13
Games Goals YC RC
1 0 0 0
Anders Lindegaard now has the time to impress Sir Alex Ferguson enough to cement his place as the first-choice goalkeeper at the club, particularly given the criticism that surrounds David de Gea.

If the Dane puts in a strong performance and keeps a clean sheet, it could do wonders to his status at the club.
Prediction
Both teams are strong and have had pitfalls recently. The Gunners lost to Fulham and Swansea while Sir Alex Ferguson's men fell to Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United. The visitors have since recovered, but the Scot will know that it will be a great boost to register a positive result to put those two defeats in the past.

But the north London side have the home advantage and should be able to secure a draw on the day.
Editor's Prediction
Results
 
Match News
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
30 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Manchester City
18 6
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
16 0
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man Utd.
15 2