The last time Robin Van Persie played in a United vs Arsenal fixture at Old Trafford he ended up on the scoresheet and on the end of an 8-2 drubbing. Let’s hope he repeats half of that feat on Saturday afternoon when Arsenal travel to the Theatre of Dreams.
Allowing five goals to go past him will not have helped Lindegaard’s quest to secure the number one jersey and the in form De Gea will almost certainly start in between the sticks. Rafael looked great on Wednesday evening and is doing very well to keep this consistency in the shape of form and run of games running. Tired errors aside, Wooton and Keane looked impressive against a potent Chelsea attack but are sure to return to reserve team action for the majority of the season now. This leaves a rested and refreshed Rio and Evans to return to heart of defence. At left back Evra proved to his Old Trafford detractors, in his midweek absence, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. Buttner is good and has plenty of raw potential but he’s no Evra…yet!
Ferguson has gone on record as saying that Anderson deserves more games especially as he was, in Fergie’s words, ‘the best player on the pitch [on Wednesday] until he tired,’ and this implies that he may be giving the Brazilian a chance on Saturday. Cleverley has been looking mightily impressive this season and the future of the United midfield may lie at the feet of these two young men. Will they get to play together on Saturday? It’s possible but with Fletcher, Scholes and Carrick all available (not to mention an unavailable Kagawa) the midfield – an area of concern for so many fans – suddenly looks rich in depth. After Ferguson’s criticism of him, I’d be surprised to see Nani play on Saturday. In fact, I’m going to be surprised to see him in a United shirt next September! Valencia and Young will be hoping that Ferguson plays 4-4-2.
If he doesn’t, we should expect to see Rooney, RvP and Hernandez all start. Ferguson has recently praised Arsenal’s defence and this could suggest that he’s going to go at it gun-ho!
Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna are likely to start and many Arsenal fans will be delighted to see Wilshere line up at Old Trafford. If they are to turn around a recent run of defeats at OT then they’ll need the likes of Wilshere on form. Walcott, after 120 minutes of football in that incredible 7-5 win at Reading, may return to bench as he may unfit. Oxlade-Chamberlain faces a fitness test whilst Gervinho is ruled out for three weeks. Rosicky, Diaby and goalkeepers Szczesny and Fabiansky are all still sidelined.
It’s a tough one to call but, with home advantage and their tails up after the league win at Stamford Bridge I’d tip United to win this one by two goals. Arsenal, however, certainly won’t be a pushover and will offer a real test for a club looking to go top of the league. I can see this one being a dramatic affair and who’d bet against Van Persie having a major say in the final score?
Match Betting (odds with WilliamHill)
Follow me on Twitter for more United ramblings, FIFA/FUT moaning and general excessive retweeting – @matthew_james7
Edited 19:39 Nov 2nd – Just after posting this it was announced that Kagawa’s injury is likely to keep him out for four more weeks and Vidic will be out until Christmas time.