Man Utd vs Arsenal: Injury News, Preferred Team & Predicted Score
After a week’s worth of silence coming from Old Trafford, Manchester United and Arsenal are set to lock horns in what should be a very boisterous Quarterfinal match-up of the FA Cup.
|Tempers Nearly Boiled Over In December|
Historically, the FA Cup has been very kind to both of these clubs with the Reds winning a record 11 titles, and the Gunners have captured 10, which make them the two most successful teams in this competition.
This is the 211th North South Derby ever played, but very few matches between United and Arsenal have had held as much significance as this FA Cup fixture does.
These rich history clubs have met in two FA Cup Finals, both ending with Arsenal being victorious, as well as a very memorable, season-defining Semifinal in 1999, but the result of this North-South Derby has the potential shatter the confidence one of these their teetering aspirations following their performances this past week.
United is coming into the match riding an almost unheard of two match losing streak with losses against Liverpool and Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League, but Arsenal tasted the bitterness of defeat as the Gunners exited the UEFA Champions League at the mercy of Barcelona.
All three of those matches had hint of refereeing controversy to them, which, arguably, led to both on them being on the wrong side of the results. Neither club had any excuses for either of their performances in the previous round of this competition as United narrowly defeated Crawley Town at Old Trafford, and Arsenal needed a Fifth Round replay to eventually get passed Leyton Orient.
However, there was nothing controversial about the result when Arsenal visited Old Trafford earlier in the season as United took the game to them.
Back in December, Manchester United cruised to a fully-deserved win over Arsenal at Old Trafford, which saw the two teams flip-flop in the Premier League standings. Ji-Sung Park, who has only played one since this match for United, scored his fourth career goal against Arsenal near the end of the first-half, which was enough to give the Reds all three Premier League points
The final score was not as convincing as the score line, but Arsenal, which made a deplorable, almost laughable, attempt at being hard-nosed with the Reds, was spared another goal as Wayne Rooney whiffed a penalty in the second half. Instead of using this win to catapult their season, United has continued to play down to their opponents, which has allowed Arsenal, as well Manchester City and Chelsea, to stay in the Premier League title hunt.
The Reds still hold a narrow lead in the goal differential column, by three, so Arsenal will be full of confidence that they can still pip United for the title this season, which would be their first triumph in seven years. Even though they are still within an earshot of the lead in the league, Arsenal has suffered two body blows as they now rest their hopes on the FA Cup and Premier League to end their six long years of going without a piece of silverware.
In a matter of just 14 days, Arsene Wenger’s men have has gone from favorites to land an unprecedented quadruple to having the possibility of being eliminated from three different competitions since their heart-breaking loss to Birmingham City in the Carling Cup Final at the end of February.
Now the task of traveling to Old Trafford beckons, and the Gunners will have to cope without their talisman, Cesc Fabregas, after he has suffered another hamstring injury. The Gunners are led by Robin van Persie, who has tallied 14 goals in all competitions, but the injury-prone forward will be looking to make amends for his unfortunate sending off against Barcelona against United.
The major talking about with United over the last week has been the self-imposed media blackout by Sir Alex Ferguson, but he has agreed to give a pre-match press conference to speak about the devastating loss to Liverpool and the significance of this old derby.
Another major talking point will be about the long-awaited return of Antonio Valencia from his broken leg he suffered back in September, and if he will play any part against the Gunners. His return will be somewhat marred by the injury layoff for Nani, who was on the wrong end of a studs-showing, high horrible challenge from Jamie Carragher in the North West Derby.
For Manchester United to lose three matches on the bounce is unthinkable, especially under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, but there is no better way for the Reds to not only rekindle the joy of winning than against their long-standing rival, Arsenal, but to bring back their love for the FA Cup.
Out: O. Hargreaves (hamstring), Nani (leg); Questionable: A. Valencia (leg), M. Owen (hamstring), J. Evans (ankle), Anderson (knee), R. Ferdinand (calf), J. S. Park (hamstring);
E. van der Sar; J. O’Shea, R. Ferdinand, N. Vidic, P. Evra; A. Valencia, D. Fletcher, M. Carrick, R. Giggs; W. Rooney, D. Berbatov
Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1