UK time is: 22:19:10
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Old Trafford

16 May 2009

12.45 BST

Man Utd v Arsenal

Brice is busy at school. The last time I covered for him on the match preview, we lost to Chelsea…

We say that when it comes to a big match, it's down to who wants it more. Do you think they want to be crowned champions more or we want to spoil the party more?

Vital Quotes:

The shiny cup has been made ready, medals counted, ribbons tied, champagne cooled, red carpet set to be rolled out. They're just one point away from starting the party. The incentive is all there - to bring their record to 18 league titles, level with Liverpool, and to celebrate with the Old Trafford faithful:

'We have another opportunity to win it in front of our own fans - it would be nice to do it,' said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. 'I have always said I don't care where we win it. But it is strange that we have won it once out of 10 at Old Trafford.' That came in 1999 after their home win against Spurs. (I wonder if Spurs is the team that has witnessed the most title celebrations, apart from the winners themselves.)

He also expects a good game against an attacking team like Arsenal and wants his team to try and win the game, although one point will see them crowned champions:

'They are a very good team and they will attack us, there's no question about that. They won't change the way they play and I'm expecting a good game.

'We've just got to concentrate on winning the league and try to do that in our own way. Going for a point is always a dangerous game to play when that's all you need, we must try and go for the win.'

Arsene Wenger, on the other hand, has already started reflecting on the season and, when asked about the prospect of witnessing United's celebration of the title win, stays positive as always:

Instead of thinking that it could deflate his players, he said, 'Of course it can inspire the players.

'These players will win and want to win but you have to accept as well, as we've said before, Man United at the moment is the best team. In sport, you have to accept that.

'They have watched us lifting the trophy as well. It's part of sport, and England is famous in sport for the fair play they have shown and the rugby teams have created this idea.

'If a team has been better than us, and Man United has been better than us without a doubt, the whole season, then [you applaud it].

'They played under pressure, Liverpool won the day before, the next day they come out and they believe they will win. At the end of the day, you have to say yes, you are the best and there is no shame to say that.'

Manchester United Team News:

Rio Ferdinand will likely miss the game with a calf strain, according to Ferguson. The United manager is more keen to make his most experienced defender available for the big clash against Barcelona in Rome so it's not likely for them to risk Ferdinand against us since he's not even training. So he should stay sidelined with Wes Brown (foot) and Jonny Evans is likely to stand in again. Otherwise they have a strong squad available.

Possible starting XI: Edwin van der Sar; O`Shea, Evans, Vidic, Evra; Park, Fletcher, Carrick, Ronaldo; Rooney, Berbatov/Tevez

Player to watch: Carlos Tevez

If he plays, that is. He has seemed genuinely happy to play for United and the home crowd have seemed genuinely supportive of him. I personally think it`ll be a big boss if United choose not to keep him, but the price tags being quoted in the press do seem prohibitive so apparently he is set to leave Old Trafford this summer.

Arsenal Team News:

The only addition to the squad is Andrey Arshavin who returns from flu (the regular one). But Manuel Almunia is 'unlikely' to play with an ankle problem, enjoying the company of William Gallas (knee), Gael Clichy (back) and Eduardo da Silva (groin) in the medical room.

I know many Gooners have given up hope on Tomas Rosicky. But I was truly happy to learn that he was finally back in training with the first team, despite the possibility of yet another false dawn. It's been 16 months after all… He obviously won't feature in the remaining games, but he will go through a special training programme with Tony Colbert to get back to his best in summer.

Possible starting XI: Fabianski; Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs; Nasri, Fabregas, Song, Arshavin; van Persie, Adebayor

Player to watch: Andrey Arshavin

Yes, it's all worth watching whether our back five can deal with United's great forwards, whether Cesc, Nasri and Song are good enough in the midfield battle, whether Ade still cares, whether Bendtner (for me our most hard-working and effective striker at the moment) gets to play at all.

But if I'm honest, I can only count on one guy to make something happen in a difficult game. He proved that he could give that something extra at Anfield. Our defence is still the weakest in the top four, but I don't think we would've missed so many chances and lost by such a margin against Chelsea had he been fit and playing. That's spilt milk, but I'm amazed we are relying on him already. (But well, maybe it tells you as much about him as about the rest of the attacking force who haven't done enough in terms of getting results.)

Match Facts & Stats

Only one fact counts on this occasion: Manchester United will be crowned the Premier League champions if they draw this game. So to delay the party we need three points.

They will almost certainly become the first club to achieve the second hat-trick of league titles in the English top flight, their first one during the three seasons from 1998-2001. Only three other clubs have done the hat-trick: Huddersfield (1923-26), Arsenal (1932-35) and Liverpool (1981-84). United will also match Liverpool's record of 18 English top-flight titles; 11 of those have been achieved in the Premier League era.

If we manage to delay the party by beating United, it would give us the consolation of doing the league double over them for the fourth time in the Premier League.

This will be the 40th duel between Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, the longest serving in the Premier League. United have won 15 times, Arsenal 14.

Ref Watch:

Mike Dean (Wirral) will be the head official for this game. He has officiated 30 PL games this season, handing out 8 red cards and 117 yellows, averaging 4.17 cards per game and ranking second in the PL referees' cards table. He gives out more cards than other referees in general. But apart from the two yellows he gave to Eboue at White Hart Lane, I don't recall any special incidents that involved either team.

Match Prediction:

I don't enjoy doing this part, if I'm honest. Well, with Ferdinand out and Arshavin in, we may have a chance. But even an optimist like me can only see a draw at best: 2-2.

Next Fixtures:

24/5 (Sun) - Stoke City (H) - Premier League




Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!

The Journalist

Writer: Gooner Lou Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday May 16 2009

Time: 6:37AM

Your Comments

Play for some pride lads. Thats the only thing left now. Atleast the away fans (if not the rest of the TV audience) deserve that. Will Wenger be able to motivate this bunch of (currently) mentally weak players? I doubt it.
prits
Man Utd will want to wrap the game up as quickly as possible, they're the best team in the world right now, Fergusson knows how to motivate a team. I predict the game will be over as a contest by half time ...... unless Super Andrey Arshavin can have a say. Help us Obiwan, you're our only hope.
Rocky7
Lets see what Arsenal turns up. It was only last week Evra was calling them babies, normally you would expect a reaction but from this squad you're never quite sure. Add the extra motivation that if we were to win then that scumbag from Hull would have to beat a United team that are going for the title to stay up and you would think at least Cesc might be bang on it! we'll see
iceman10
Just give it your best, thats all I ask for. Don't see us winning tho, hoping for a draw.
Armory
We are a different team with AA.
Armory
Shame we couldnt of looked as comfortable and composed in the CL games. The quality of Arshavin is there to see. The ball to RVP was world class
paul_ownz
Yea paul_ownz and I cant but help thinking that Nicky would be better suited for this game than RVP.
Armory
Is it me or has RVP slipped over abour 5 times already. Is that lck of sharpness or is he wearing the wrong footwear. I would like to see us go 4-4-2 to be honest Armory. Bendtner for Diaby.
paul_ownz
I just got home and saw the past 10 mins. How was it guys? We're not flawless at the back but we're better than we'd been, yes?
GoonerLou
Not a bad first half. I can't see Wenger go with 442 paul_ownz until mayby late in second half, that is if it is still 0 - 0.
Armory
Yeah I'd also like to see Bendtner alongside RvP - as I said in the preview, he's our most effective striker at the moment. But from the 1H highlights, RvP looked good enough to me.
GoonerLou
Wish there were replays the yellow AA got was incorrect his foot was nowhere near Carrick, same as Winking Ronnie there was no foul there, it makes you mad bloody cheats nothing else.
alwaysgunner
Keeping the ball better (probably bcos Cesc is not playing as a striker). Still not decisive enough in the last 3rd. United arent exactly in top gear tho, also ferguson just needs to get the ref to play further up field so he can spot some more non fouls either in or around the box.
iceman10
Why are our players getting booked? For showing up?
Armory
What the ***** is the ref doing?
Armory
looks like there is a red card coming
collow
What a tackle from Fabi! ;0
GoonerLou
Is this 442 or 451?
Armory
I still dont think Diaby adds much. Maybe im being harsh, but at this stage in his career he is not quite good enough to Defend and not good enough to attack. He loses the ball to often too.
paul_ownz
Denilson and Song only came good this season, I'd give Diaby till the end of next to proof his worth.
Armory
Different performance from last time, 10 shots on target to utd 5 and 5 corners to 2.
Armory
Before every single big game, I only said I wanted to see a good performance that'd do ourselves justice. This one came the closest to that honestly. Congrats United, they showed it's their defence that made the difference. We can attack like they do, but we can't say the same thing about the defence.
GoonerLou
Overall good performance. Shame we coudlnt nick a goal and take it to the last week. We controlled much of the game and looked the better team without really carving a good chance. Unfortuantly it didnt fall to Van persies left foot
paul_ownz
Song was great at CB today and we were much better defensively. Song has that "you shall not pass" attitude, he bodychecked Cronaldo twice. Have to wonder if Silvester had NOT played in the CL tie if we might've done better. Oh well. All I asked for was a good performance, we did well.
jaelle
A good performance we took four point off them this season and six last some babies? what happen to Ade, not fit to play or is it the bye bye factor?
alwaysgunner
I would be happy to sayy bye bye to him and Hello to David villa
paul_ownz
sorry stuffed that up1 point last season and four this hmmm
alwaysgunner
Good performance from the lads. We still lack that bit of skill from one of our attacking players in a 433/4231 (Diaby or Walcott) which Rosicky would have brought, but we did well. I think Bendtner should have started to be honest.
Tom14
So do I Tom, he is more suited to a game like this than RVP IMO.
Armory
Can someone tell me why they're singing in Spanish? lol
GoonerLou
Lou, maybe because of Tevez?
jaelle
Yeah, but it's not that Liverpool won the league wasn't it? lol Tevez is so loved at OT, I can imagine he's very sad to go. It'll be a big loss for them next year.
GoonerLou
And am I the only one burning with jealousy...?
GoonerLou
YOu still watching it, Lou? I turned it off the minute Dean blew the whistle. Can't bear watching those jerks celebrate.
jaelle
It was 3 minutes remember, then a sub - extra 30 seconds at least, so why blow the whistle at 2:57?
Tom14
Tom, because Dean was Manure's 12th man and wanted them to win the league.
jaelle
its simply because it was pointless. manU was defending for dear life and arsenal never looked liked scoring and to be honest, they just seemed like they couldnt be botherd.
chopstah
Good performance be you guys but it looked to me like manure only wanted a point and you just didn't quite have the ingenuity to break them down. Strange game though hard to make any in-depth observations from it. Although you can take some heart from outplaying the best team in the land in there backyard...
Phartman87
Jaelle, I had the unenviable task of recording the whole thing including the celebration for my dat who supports ManU... Anyway, that's not too bad. I actually hope our players watched it in the dressing room and got very very jealous. It should spur them on.
GoonerLou
Lou, that's what I'm hoping, that watching the champions celebrate on their home ground will inspire our players for next season. Great Arshavin interview with Martin Samuel, btw, hilarious comments about how scary Wenger looked to him when he first met him. Given that Arsh is so tiny and AW is 6'3", I can understand: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1182989/Arshavin-talks-Martin-Samuel-Outspoken-Arsenal-star-scary-Wenger-United-machines-boring-Chelsea.html . Like every other Russian I've ever met, Arshavin's very honest and forthright. I like that. Wish he wasn't so complimentary of Barca, tho.
jaelle
Lou, that's what I'm hoping, that watching the champions celebrate on their home ground will inspire our players for next season. Great Arshavin interview with Martin Samuel, btw, hilarious comments about how scary Wenger looked to him when he first met him. Given that Arsh is so tiny and AW is 6'3", I can understand: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1182989/Arshavin-talks-Martin-Samuel-Outspoken-Arsenal-star-scary-Wenger-United-machines-boring-Chelsea.html . Like every other Russian I've ever met, Arshavin's very honest and forthright. I like that. Wish he wasn't so complimentary of Barca, tho.
jaelle
Yeah I read that piece too. The comments were crap but the interview itself was interesting. I like the Russians I've met too, they're very honest and approachable people. And I didn't like the 'Barcelona Lite' thingy about Arsenal's style. We're just every bit as good at playing attacking football. They have no monopoly! Enjoyed that comment about Hleb sitting on the Barca bench though lol..
GoonerLou
I also want to say: well done AGAIN Gibbsy!
GoonerLou
Great preformance by every player. Too bad it was a couple of games too late.
gunnerkid107
We lack that cutting edge with Diaby and Walcott imo. Either Rosicky and Eduardo get fit, or we sign an AM as well.
Tom14
Did you see me on the box? No? Alright then. I wanted to see a reaction and I got one,United were obviously intent on not conceding but we can take heart from the effort shown. Didn't stick around for the presentation but did Mike Dean go and get a medal? He deserved one, what a disgrace he was. If you're going to favour one side, make it a bit subtle, at least give us a few innocuous calls to give the impression you're trying to be fair. Any news behind Ade's omission? Neck injury from having his head too far up his arse perhaps?
Little Dutch
I heard he has got a lower back strain as the wallet he carries around is too heavy.
paul_ownz
Bentdner is crap, for **** sake sell him this summer!
Orange Quadrant
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/football_focus/8053447.stm Hmmmm, this little interview might just have finished his Arsenal career methinks. For the record Ade,most people were willing to forgive you for the summer, it was when you spent two massive semi finals taking the ***** out of everyone that you snapped the camel's back,
Little Dutch
Unbelievable performance by Dean, just incredible. Absolutely no attempt to make it even look a little fair. Arsenal players breathe on Utd players, out comes the yellow card. Utd players dive and dive and dive and make bad challenges, nada, zip.
jaelle
Adebayooor Adebayoooooooorrrr, you can **** off, and Bendtner will score.
Tom14
Its funny when he says"its not my fault if Milan say they want me". No Its not your fault, but it is your fault you let these rumours circle around for months without saying your def staying. Whats that? You were in togo for 3 weeks without a phone and didnt know what was going on back home? Poor Ade
paul_ownz
I've only seen some highlights on Skysport News, but it looked like we nearly did spoil they Party! But like mention above I too hope that our players were made to sit in their dressing room and listen to the celebration at OT! And any player who didn't feel gutted, should be sold!
hackneyval
Agreed, about Ade. I saw that interview, and cringed. Really, that guy is simply ******** stupid, if he thinks its the fans' fault. If he was misquoted in the press, why didnt he come out and clarify his position? Cesc has done it sooo many times. Before today, I would have been comfortable with letting Ade go, but after the interview, its bye-bye Ade.
prits
Adebayors a prat and needs to go forth and multiply.
LondonGooner
but if he went forth and multiplied, wouldn't there be more pratts?
The Fear
lol yeah i make you right there fella! Aslong as they are away from our club is all that matters....
LondonGooner
 

Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Arsenal Articles

Sunderland v Arsenal Match Preview (Friday October 24 2014)

A Busted Flush (Thursday October 23 2014)

Isn't It The Sign Of A Great Team? (Thursday October 23 2014)

Team News: Anderlecht vs Arsenal (Wednesday October 22 2014)

Anderlecht v Arsenal Match Preview (Tuesday October 21 2014)

The State Of Play (Sunday October 19 2014)

Arsenal v Hull City Match Preview (Friday October 17 2014)

Archived Arsenal Articles

List All Vital Arsenal Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

1. Amos. 63
2. Naijagunner 49
3. Galway Gooner 41
4. paul_ownz 39
5. Guyfox 28
6. Joe_@** 22
7. shewore 19
8. Rocky7 12
9. Nwankwo25 11
10. damiano_tommassi 10

League Results (view all)

Latest Results
Arsenal 2 - 2 Hull City
Chelsea 2 - 0 Arsenal
Arsenal 1 - 1 Spurs
Aston Villa 0 - 3 Arsenal
Arsenal 2 - 2 Man City
Leicester City 1 - 1 Arsenal

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
4. West Ham 8 4 1 3 4 13
5. Liverpool 8 4 1 3 1 13
6. Man Utd 8 3 3 2 3 12
7. Arsenal 8 2 5 1 2 11
8. Swansea 8 3 2 3 1 11
9. Spurs 8 3 2 3 -1 11
10. Stoke 8 3 2 3 -1 11

Breaking League News

Going for Three Points This Time!
» Chelsea : 24/10/2014 22:00:00
Liverpool: Lawro Predicts 2014-15 - Hull (Home)
» Liverpool : 24/10/2014 20:00:00
Villa to Sign Cleverley in January!
» Man Utd : 24/10/2014 18:43:00
Pearson On Competition amp; Swansea Threat
» Leicester City : 24/10/2014 18:31:00
Pellegrini Expecting Tough West Ham Test
» Man City : 24/10/2014 18:17:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Who is most likely to end as top scorer this season?
Suggested By:  
Campbell 6%
Giroud 1%
Podolski 2%
Ramsey 2%
Sanchez 33%
Sanogo 2%
Walcott 5%
Welbeck 49%