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Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Old Trafford

13/04/08

16:00GMT

On Sky

United V Arsenal

By dinner time today we will know whether Arsenal have anything left to fight for this season, or whether it's time to plan for our assault on the Premiership and Champions League next season.

If Wenger found our Champions League exit on Tuesday hard to swallow, then anything other than three points today will surely see the Frenchman rushed to A&E with the result loged firmly in his throat.

Arsenal's key players all like like they need a rest. All except one - Theo Walcott. The flying forward has really found his feet at Arsenal now. He blew hot and cold for a while, then a dip in form saw him branded a flop. But he's bounced back in spectacular fashion. He scored a brace against Birmingham to rescue a point, and since then he's been made a difference every time he's come on. In contrast, then man keeping him out the team has done nothing but worry me that he's going to get sent off. Eboue was fantastic at right back when he played there in our run to the Champions League final in 2006, but he's been woeful at best since Wenger put him on the right wing.

I think Wenger needs to move Eboue back to his natural posistion for this game, and play our best centre back pairing of Toure and Gallas (I was starting to agree with LD that Senderos and Gallas should be playing, but his shocker agaisnt Liverpool has put me firmly back into the Toure camp).

United will be relishing this game. They have a six point lead over us, they smashed us last time we were there, and they're in the Champions League Semis. Ronaldo and Rooney will be fresh after being rested against Roma in the week. Gary Neville could also return.

Arsenal's best hope is that United under-estimate Arsenal and the Gunners react like a wounded animal and savage United.

Both teams will give it a go, but United can afford to sit back a bit, and catch Arsenal on the counter (as they did for 2 or 3 of their FA Cup goals against us).

If United win today, an

Vital Quotes:

Ol' Purple nose spoke about what it takes for his team to retain the Premiership: 'We have to win our next three games and, if we do, we've won the title.

'We could go to Chelsea and win in there, or we could lose it there if we don't win our next two games.

'We have 77 points and a better goal difference than our rivals, so to win the league we have to win the next three matches. A lot can happen and the title could go to the wire, there's no doubt about that - it's very exciting.

'This is a difficult league to win and if we have to go to Wigan in the last game of the season and need to win to take the title, that's fine.

'If you said that was the case in August you would have taken it.

'I'm delighted with the way the players are performing and the freshness and energy is terrific.'


Arsene Wenger revealed that it's shit or bust on Sunday. I think that's an admission that his team will go there and throw everything (kitchen sink included) at United. Ahead of teh game Wenger said: 'It will be the greatest achievement of my career to win the Premier League now because we are swimming against the stream at the moment.

'For us the game on Sunday is the game of the season. If we do not win this game we have no chance.

'We will fight until the last second of the championship.'

'It depends on what happens on Sunday.

'If we win then we can win the title and that's what is important for us to focus on.'


The Arsenal boss went on to speak about just what is at stake on Sunday: 'What is at stake on Sunday is the work of a whole year. If we go there and don't believe in ourselves then it is over.

'But do you really think that we will go to Manchester United thinking that our season is over? That would be ridiculous.'

'We have worked extremely hard since the first day of the season against all the odds.

'We will fight until the last second of the championship, especially on Sunday. If we win on Sunday then realistically we can win the title.'

Manchester United Team News:

United have Gary Neville and Patrice Evra back for their match against Arsenal. Rio Ferdinand will play, despite needing three stitches in his foot after the Boro game.

Rooney and Ronaldo will return to the starting line-up after being on the bench against Roma.

Player to watch: Wayne Rooney

Most people would expect me to choose Ronaldo, but Rooney has been a pain in our ARSEnal since he made his debut for Everton as a kid.

He's not been a 30Million player this season, but he has started to find some form in the last few weeks.

Arsenal Team News:

Even Fergie admitted that injuries have been Arsenal's downfall this season. He may have been trying to play mind games, but he's right.

And now onto the latest injury news...

Flamini will be out for three weeks with an ankle injury, so he'll miss today's game, meaning Gilberto will almost definitely come in to replace him.

Rosicky is likely to miss this summer's European Championships, so he's out of Arsenal's season.

Sagna still hasn't recovered from his ankle injury, so he'll also miss the game.

Eudardo is making steady progress as he recovers from a broken and diislocated ankle.

As for Denilson, if anyone has any idea what's going on with the youngster, please let me know. It seems like he's been missing for an age, and there's no news on him anywhere on the internet.

Robin Van Persie could start, despite not having recovered from a thigh problem.

Player to watch: Cesc Fabregas

Cesc may be in desperate need of a rest, but Arsenal need a performance from him today. His vision, energy, and pure talent was key to Arsenal spending much of the season at the top of the Premiership.

Ref Watch:

It'll be none other than Coward Webb to oversee this match. The pathetic excuse for a referee has a nasty habit of bottleing key decisions, and clearly lacks balls after he refused to admit he got Adebayor and Eboue mixed up in the Carling Cup final when we played Chelsea.

Match Prediction:

I'm afraid I'm going for a 3-1 home win. United will be too fresh and ahve too much up front for an Arsenal team low on confidence and energy.

Thoughts Of A Manc

I asked my other half, who is a Manc fan, for her thoughts on the match: "I am going to try and be serious with my thoughts on the up coming clash of the strong and weak of course I have put that in order of home and away team.

"I think this game is going to be a close one, the very opposite to the latest FA Cup game that was played between the two teams. In am not giving a match prediction but I do think whoever wins, it will be by one goal. Eg 2-1, 1-0 or 3-2. The game itself will be action packed and quiet a few yellow cards will most probably be dished out and I am predicting a sending off because this fixture is always a heated one."




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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday April 13 2008

Time: 1:15PM

Your Comments

For the first time I agree that we will lose. I know we can win but I just don't expect it.
Goofle
Yup.. I dont really think we'll be as up for it as the players are suggesting.. its probably the last game we needed after the unfortunate UCL defeat.. we can win.. but i doubt if it will happen this time.. 2-0 to man utd.
arsenalrulz4ever
dito. Our squad is being stretched way too far. Too many players out and the ones we have will just not have enough in them today. 2-0 man u. But at the same time.. its not impossible.
ArsenalRob
lol, dont give up yet tbh.. ill be an arsenal supporter for a day!
pulse
have been up against the wall before and we have somehow come out of it with a result. am prayin its gonna be one of those days. if nothing else we will get to see if this team has the metel to get the job done. if we lose but give em a good run and lose i will be depressed but at least i will feel we tried. champs league was crushing no doubt but stuff like that happens in football and our lads are gonna have to learn to pick themselves up. gonna hope for 2:2 but would definately take a win if it came our way!
Unwell
Another dig at a referee lol this time before youve even kicked a ball. u just cant help it can you? Are all Refs anti Arsenal then or dya think maybe it u guys who have the problem? or are you making excuses already?
HuddersfieldYiddo
Come on you guys! I, sadly, will be supporting you today! ;)
Fan of Blues
Idk what to think. I think we could put in a great preformance and win but I also think we could get smashed.
gunnerkid107
come on guys, your last chance for the title!
chelseaforever
Wenger is putting on a brave face but he knows there is no way we can beat United today. Why? Lets look at the injured/not available/not match fit list. Sagna, Rosicky, Diaby, Van Persie (not match fit), Eduardo, Flamini. Which means that the worst overall player in Arsenal history (Eboue) will will be on the field. Even after that, what remains of a decent Arsenal team is totally burnt out. United on the other hand had the luxury of resting Ronaldo and Rooney. Arsenal cannot and will not win this game.
Professor Calculus
It'd would be just like us to go and hammer Utd today, only to lose against Reading. Not looking forward to this game at all :(
Rocky7
Should be an entertaining game, I'm predicting 3-2 with a late ManUre penalty the difference.
elbondo
Ok, so just seen the team. Eboue still in. Song in. Um. As much as I wish, I doubt.
themadafrican
Almunia out with a wrist injury.....what's the betting he did it slapping Lehmann??
Rocky7
lol Rocky, how about Senderos? How did Djourou get ahead of him? He's not in the injury list, but neither was Almunia, as that info's from the press conference before.
Lou the Gunneress
Ade does not have his shooting boots on today. Oh my gosh. We should be 2 up.
themadafrican
Song is so *****ty, it's not even funny.
k_chelski
Rather, ade lost his scoring boots. Should have sealed the game early. Likely to be a draw game.
ivanskg
How much longer can Wenger keep picking Eboue? He is the worst player I have ever seen wearing an Arsenal shirt, and coming from a dude who's seen players such as Glen Helder, Mark Flatts, David Hillier, John Luckic and Igor Stepanovs play for Arsenal, thats no mean feat!!
Rocky7
what did i say eh:P
pulse
This Arsenal team are useless I'm afraid.
Professor Calculus
It's hard not to be totally negative about Arsenal lately, the evidence is there for anyone to see, they are lightweights right now.
Professor Calculus
Season over. 2 mistakes, 2 goals. Gallas for no reason handballs it, and Gilberto needlessly brings down evra. On a side note, has the best player in the world touched the ball?
paul_ownz
I dont mean literaly before some smart ass responds.
paul_ownz
Hard luck guys, you are the better team.
ivanskg
Losing sagna for the most important part of the season was unlucky, losing Flamini for this match was again unlucky, consistently picking Eboue is just self inflicted damage.
Professor Calculus
So predictable wasn't it?
Lou the Gunneress
Just look at the bench to see why they're winning the title. And Chelsea's bench for why they're 2nd.
Lou the Gunneress
Van De Sar was in top form. Lehman was dreaming. Anyway, good game by both teams.
ivanskg
Lou you're right. ManU can even afford Tevez as a sub.
ivanskg
please, Gilberto Silva was one of your best players today, along with hleb. I didn't see what's all the negative fuss about your team. Hleb is extremely talented. Song...worst than horrible. You could've won this game by 3 or 4. Need a bit more finishing.
k_chelski
Empty handed again, pmsl
cyjax
Yeah Tevez and Giggs on the bench. Exactly like how Chelsea sent on Anelka only to shoot wide against us. While we had Bendtner and Theo, great youngsters, but you see the gap.
Lou the Gunneress
we r sounding a lot like spuds.. next season is make or break for arsenal.. if he is serious abt winning anything at all, he needs to buy some established players and offload a few dead weight.. ppl talk abt our squad not being big enough to fight for the trophy.. thats *********, too many mistakes being made at the back.. WAY TOO MANY MISTAKES.. this team never learns and i wonder what arsene can do so that this team stops committing stupid fouls
McGooner
ade was too wasteful. we didnt go down without a fight. in my opinion we over-achieved this season and theres a lot to take from that. we need to get a player or 2 with a bit of magic in their boots. i just dont see us banging in enough goals/chances to take the league. wenger has said in recent interviews that we play as a team, unfortunately when we are not playing well as a team we dont really have a player that can grab it by the scruff and force a victory. we need to find an arsenal torres/ronaldo/drogba to fill the void left by TH14. cesc is great but hes not that type of player....yet.
Unwell
McGooner, Arsene used singular, not plural, when talking about his summer shopping list: http://www.arsenal.com/article.asp?thisNav=News&article=490220&lid=NewsHeadline&Title=Wenger+-+My+target+is+an+experienced+player
Lou the Gunneress
We played well enough created more chances against ManU than they have allowed anyone this season. It was always a tough ask though and we have been second best them in the 2nd half of the season but there is very little between us except a little experience and maturity in key areas. All credit to them I hope they go on to win it. They way they play the game warrants the title.
Amos.
Maybe wenger will admit arse are not in the title race now and 3rd season without any silverware. better start looking over your back because Pool will be catching you.
cockeril
theres more of a chance of spurs playing in the champions league next season cockeril.
Unwell
This is why I miss Eduardo. Dudu would've helped us finish off games like that in the first half. So many wasted chances. I really feel bad for the boys, because, again, they were the better team.
Cheese.
Better to lose that game than to draw it. Dont want to see Chelsea win the league. K_chelski, your assessment of Songs performance is Garbanage. Appart from 2 early mistakes i thought he was solid enough, and was good enough to come out of defense with the ball and make accurate passes. Hleb, fabregas, Clichey were brilliant. Gilberto was either very good or very bad, some good tackles, but bad passing. Eboue, Ade very poor.
paul_ownz
We were off the pace once Hargreaves scored.. and that was mainly due to the strains of the past 2 weeks.. no rotations.. no rest.. its hard.. I hope Wenger has seen potential to invest in 2-3 players.. because we cannot rely on the same squad to go on all season.
arsenalrulz4ever
i have said since jose left..i wrote articles on vital chelsea telling my fellow blues..i told you gunners categorically in dec and then in feb..we will finish above you lot...i was abused, ridiculed and a many thing else...but by god i was right..you lot do not have the menatlity of champions..style comes easy..the right manager in the long term can bring it...but that mentality is leaking from the arse...THANKS FOR ******** UP OUR CHANCES...TYPICAL GOONERS..WHAT LOSERS!!
essientric
The reason you have a SQUAD is because of injuries. I feel that Wenger is missing the point when he says that he didn't feel that Dudu, RvP and Rosicky would all be injured at the same time.. thts what squads are there for.. so that someone who is almost as good or as good as those players step in.. I just think he doesn't like to leave players out and make them unhappy.. He's got some very important decisions to make because I really don't think that many people will be viewing defeat next season in a sympathetic manner. We really have to get in a defender, a midfielder (to replace Gilberto) and a striker (who can really assist Ade and Dudu and stay fit!). This is the minimum we need to fight on all fronts next season.. We need squad depth.. we just have to assume that the injuries will come.
arsenalrulz4ever
What a laugh that was!!! The song you boys and girls made up(1 nil and you fu(ked it up) has never been more appropriate this week! HA HA HA HA HA you bunch of mugs.
n17 yid
And hats off to Man Utd.. they deserved to win, they deserve the title and hope they go on and win it now..
arsenalrulz4ever
Theo on bench, Song at CB, Eboue on the pitch, Didnt improve his squad in January, No Trophy in 3 years, WENGER OUT!!!!! Hes assembled a great squad of young players but hes also cost you the title
HuddersfieldYiddo
Isnt huddersfield somewhere near Leeds. Why the association with Spurs you glory hunting... Oh wait that cant be right
paul_ownz
Next season it is then!
kingtorres
There is always next season;-) I said it three seasons ago that Arse will win nothing and need a change, Wenger needs to move on and a fresh challenge like Barca might suit him. he could be at Arse another 50 years and he would be no closer to winning anything in Europe.
cockeril
HAHAHAHA EMBARSSING 2DAY! GOOD TO SEE WAS LOVIN IT! YOUR NOT ANYTHING YET AGEN!ONLY ONE TEAM IN NORTH LONDON WINING A TROPHY! LOVE THAT! YOUR SHOCKWAVES FROM WELLA.....U WILL WIN NOTHING NXT YEAR ALSO! WEL PLAYED 2DAY
j dog
you must rue those first half chances you wasted!
merlin
Embrassing today? What were you embarassed by? The fact we are 40 odd points claer of you. If you try using punctuation, people might be able to read what you say.
paul_ownz
Guys,you deserved the points today but goals win games.Ye passed us off the park.I've enjoyed wathching you this season and I mean that wholeheartedly.Some of the football ye have played has been unbelievable.We've had some real battles over the years and this season has been no different.This Arsenal team will achieve with a couple of experienced signings,I have no doubt about that.Good luck for the rest of the season and hopefully we can beat Chelski to the title after some of the football we've played also!!! Pretty,entertaining football deserves to be rewarded imo ;)
java
Same old Goons, showing decent form...then the wheels come off...not very surprised really, Fran and BMD know what Im talking about, predicted this to happen 3 months ago...and my oh my...same old goons.
Blue is the colour
When Chelsea win something this season come back and make that statement. Until then, you are in the same position as us except you spent millions more and play boring football
paul_ownz
try again next season you stupid fools.
rooneyisgod
I interupt this post to ask for a minutes silence ........................ ................................................................. after a long, and couragous battle with competitions, Arenals season has finaly passed away, I'm sure we all at the MIGHTY SPURS, hope they rest in pieces. Please wear a blue and white armband, as a mark of respect for at least until their next humiating defeat. RIP all goons.
YidEdy
You could have been a contender.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BlueAmigo
They are a bit punch drunk now!!!
quietman
However gutting this is, we dont need are wholesale changes - its 3 years without a trophy, not three decades! We need a bit of maturity and finishing in the box. I'm proud that we tried so damn hard... Arsene was right - the priority is to keep this group together now with small improvements. And all you bitter Spuds go ahead and gloat - your cupboard has been bare for so long and you'll struggle to get into the Top 10 next season.
Andy-bayor
"ADEBAYOOOOR, ADEBAYOOOOOOR, GIVE HIM THE BALL, AND HE'LL DO FWARK ALL".
supersof
Good game, disappointing result. The lads actually fought well. Tough luck for the 1st goal, poor defending for the 2nd. Lehmann looked class yesterday. The disturbing aspect about this season end is not the lack of trophies, its the repetition of the mistakes we saw last season - inability to finish off chances, and soft goals due to sloppy defending.
prits
 

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