Friday, September 15, 2006
In a ridiculously packed weekend where powerhouses collide, haven’t-won-a-game-because-we-can’t-be-bothered-to-score Arsenal meet up with the table-leading Manchester United that’s just made itself a nice bit of GBP from their 3-2 win over Celtic in CL Matchday 1. This matchup of 1 vs. 17 may not have the intensity it used to, but history and emotions can ramp that up fairly quickly, especially at Old Trafford.
And “Pizzagate” is revisited, as Ashley Cole serializes his upcoming autobiography, explaining how he was done wrong by the Arsenal board. Perhaps that’s the one thing Sir Alex and Arsene have in common (if they would ever admit it), a mutual distaste in their mouths for the kind of crap that’s getting served up in the Times. Thankfully, Martin Samuel is the only thing keeping the Times an inch away from the Daily Mail and The Sun (and we love thee, as our links to the right prove).
What does Manchester United v. Arsenal on Sunday provide? Well, we’ve got the same git who issued three yellows in the World Cup, who also refereed last year’s corresponding match (Man winning 2-0), Graham Poll. We’ve got Fergie attempting to rile up the supporters (prawn sandwiches anyone?) and Wenger hoping to play against an attacking team so the game might open a bit for the misfiring Gunners.
For Man Utd, they miss Park Ji-sung, but get Nemanja Vidic and Alan Smith back, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo after suspension. Arsenal’s injury list grows with their skipper, Thierry Henry, and striker Robin Van Persie both doubtful for Sunday’s clash. The statistics are in Man U’s favor, since about the last ¼ of the last year’s season, and Arsenal would be lucky to walk away from Old Trafford with a point.
Man United are just too strong and Arsenal are extremely inconsistent. The loss of Thierry Henry and Robin Van Persie are huge, as the captain can single-handedly win games, but it’s fairly apparent that can’t last you through a season. Van Persie is invaluable since he’s seemingly the only player willing to take shots on goal. But Arsenal’s play has been so frustratingly unrewarding, it may be good for Arsenal to try something different and hope for some mistakes from Man United, as Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown bumbled in United’s win over Celtic.
For a detailed preview from the Beeb, click here [BBC Sport]