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MATCH PREVEIW: Manchester United travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal

A time when Rooney could score Penalties.....  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
A time when Rooney could score Penalties..... (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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Manchester United will look to continue there good form, and keep the pressure up on Man City with a victory at Arsenal on Sunday. Earlier on in the day, City will face Spurs in Manchester on a day that pits four of the Premier Leagues top five against each other (Chelsea, who sit 4th, drew with Norwich 0-0 earlier today).

The reverse fixture at Old Traffod was very early in the season. That unforgettable 8-2 demolition. Rooney grabbed a hat trick, a brace for Ashley Young and a goal for Danny Welbeck, Nani and Park. Walcott and Van Persie were the scorers for the Gunners. (Lets hope for more of the same please)

Last time out

United beat Bolton fairly easily. Goals from Scholes, Welebck and Carrick saw us pick up the three points. In contrast Arsenal fell to Swansea last Sunday in a cracker of a game. An early Van Persie goal was pegged back by Swansea's Scott Sinclair (Pen). Nathan Dyer put them ahead and Danny Graham scored the winner less than a minute after Theo Walcott's equaliser.

Team news

The big news is that Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are back. I think Smalling pretty certain to start, but where depends on the fitness of Rio Ferdinand. It has been rpeorted that his back went again during training and he is a doubt for the game. If he misses out I expect Smalling to partner Jonny Evans with Phil Jones at RB. Young, Anderson, Vidic, Cleverley and Fletcher are all out.

Arsenal are missing their regular and back up full backs. Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Santos are all out. This leaves Johann Djourou and Ignasi Miquel playing RB and LB. Wilshire has started running but the game is too soon for him. Arteta is out injured and Thomas Vermaelen is a big doubt. Thierry Henry is to have a late fitness test. Strikers Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho are away at the African Nations Cup.

Line up

I expect the United line up to be this. Deployed in a 4-4-1-1

Anders Lindegaard, Chris Smalling, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra, Antonio Valencia, Nani, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck.

An alternative to this could be playing Jones instead of Welbeck with Rooney up top on his own and Jones at CM.

Tactical Keys

Get men behind the ball - Chances are Arsenal will see a lot of the ball. They key to not conceding will be getting two banks of four in front of the goal early. Then when we win the ball back we can use are pace and expose the Arsenal defense.

Use Valencia - He has been in a rich vein of form and we must fancy his chances against the young Spaniard Miquel who is not the quickest and very in-experienced.

Give Van the Man no space - Van Persie has been argubly the best player in the Premier league this season. He is the top goalscorer and if we stop him scoring, I personally cannot see Arsenal winning. Show him onto his right foot, and double up on him if need be.

Strength in depth - Our bench will be deeper than Arsenal's. We have the likes of Chicarito, Scholes, Berbatov and Park to bring on if we need a goal. Although if Henry is fit i can easily see him grabbing a winner,


I think it will end as a score draw. Arsenal will want revenge for their humiliating defeat earlier in the season. I expect them to put in a very good performance. I think United will have to get a 2nd half equaliser to grab a point. 1-1

KO 4pm GMT 11am EST The Emirates