WTTGT Writer: Daniel Cox
Arsenal travel to Old Trafford where they face current Premiership champions, Manchester United, this Sunday.
In the past a Premier League match between the Gunners and the Red Devils has historically been regarded as a battle for the Premiership crown. However, the harsh reality for Gunners fans is this was as stated, in the past, and doesn’t reflect the present.
In the last nine league games between the two, Arsenal have won only once and that was a 1-0 win on last May Day. United also possess a formidable home record against Arsenal and only dropped two points last season, and that was a draw with West Brom.
Wednesday night saw Arsenal return from Italy victorious after a 2-1 triumph over Udinese, sealing their passage into the Champions League group stages. After last Saturday‘s depressing 0-2 defeat at home to Liverpool, a win over Udinese has provided a perfect tonic for Arsenal and will give the players a morale boost before they step into the ‘Theatre of Dreams.’
Looking at the team news for Arsenal, Thomas Vermaelen will have a fitness test, Abou Diaby is still injured and Jack Wilshere is sidelined with an ankle injury and isn’t expected to return for at least another three weeks. Finally, Alex Song, Gervinho and Emmanuel Frimpong are all suspended for Arsenal.
Manchester United welcome back Rio Ferdinand after his hamstring injury. Darren Fletcher clocked up 90 minutes for the reserve side in midweek, so could return to The Red Devils’ squad. However, Nemanja Vidic and Rafael Da Silva will definitely miss out.
The intensity of pressure has reached fever pitch at Arsenal over the past two weeks. The departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have punctured a deep wound in The Gunners’ midfield. However, a big weight has been lifted off manager, Arsène Wenger’s shoulders after the Udinese win and subsequent qualification into the Champions League. The Gunners’ faithful will be hoping that qualification will attract the top-name players to arrive at the Emirates.