2nd November 2012
Manchester United can eliminate their rivals from the title race as well as put extra pressure on leaders Chelsea with another triumph at Old Trafford, with former Arsenal icon Robin van Persie looking to pour more misery on the Gunners. Arsene Wenger’s side will certainly be boosted by the amazing comeback in the Capitol One Cup, but it remains to be seen whether that will prove enough for a positive result in Manchester.
We cannot really say Manchester United have been impressive this season, even if they are just one point adrift of the Premier League summit, while on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages. The Red Devils have suffered a lot due to the absence of Nemanja Vidic, but the magnificent Robin van Persie is proving to be a difference this term. With a little help from Wayne Rooney and Antonio Valencia, the Dutchman continues to score important goals for United, although Javier Hernandez is also chipping in, thus proving his reputation as by far the best impact sub in world football. Even if United needed a big help from Mark Clattenburg to record an invaluable win over Chelsea, they have done well to catch their title rivals and could easily dislodge the Blues from the top if they manage to beat struggling Arsenal. Sir Alex Ferguson is set to revert to his strongest line-up after the second string side were beaten by Chelsea in Capitol One Cup, but Nemanja Vidic, Phil Jones and Shinji Kagawa remain long-term casualties.
Arsenal’s 7-5 victory over Reading in the Capitol One Cup is bound to enter the history books, but it is unlikely to improve the atmosphere in the team a great deal ahead of the derby clash with Manchester United. The reality is that the Gunners are still far from the desired form, even if they manage to record successive victories following back to back defeats to Norwich and Reading, and they will have to show a considerable improvement in order to get something from this game. While the back line continues to leak goals, Arsenal still have massive problems up front, as witnessed by just one goal scored in three games that preceded the cracking match at Madejski. This team have yet to gel properly, and if they continue to make the same mistakes they made over the last couple of weeks, ruthless Manchester United will record an easy win at their Old Trafford. The good news is that both Wojciech Szczesny and Jack Wilshire are set to start, while Theo Walcott could be a solution to team’s attacking problems after bagging a hat-trick against Reading.
Manchester United simply oozes quality and class in every single department, with individual quality of their players helping the team win even when they are not at their best. Arsenal, on the other hand, could be trusted to match the Red Devils if they were on top of their game, but with that clearly not the case at the moment, home win look a good option here.
Verdict: Home win Manchester United (1)
Best Odds: 1.73 (8/11)
Bookmaker: Paddy Power