With so much hype happening before the match todays, is there really much that I can say that you don’t already know? Why is today’s game between Arsenal and Manchester United any different from their usual battles? Last season, Arsenal beat Manchester both home and away (much to my delight)…can we do it again?
We could go over the player ratings, head-to-head comparisons…but nah, footballers all have a selfish side. Whether the team wins or loses, all of them have something to prove and a lot of them have something at stake, whether they’re maintaining some personal record, coming back from injury or fighting for their place.
So here are a few players that may want to show you something a little extra on Saturday (12:45 GMT). Is it just me, or did that sound dirty?
Alexander Hleb: The Belarusian is having the season of his life. After being written off big-time last season, now everyone wonders at his genius. Two seasons of inconsistency…some real form emerging now. Can he pass the test that another twinkle-toed Arsenal player failed? (Twinkle-toes being Jose Antonio Reyes)
Rio Ferdinand: After a dodgy start to the season, Rio seems to be coming back to his best form, however he faces a big test against the gangly Togo-an (?). In the last two games between the sides, Ade has dominated Rio like Britney Spears and a twinkie. Now is his chance to get his own back.
Tomas Rosicky: One of the players back from injury (kinda). Poor Tomas is our fragile doll and tends to tear at the slightest provocation…maybe with some consistent game time, the ‘Little Mozart’ can play something besides “Pull my hamstring one more time” (Really, it’s a miracle that they let me write here).
Edwin Van der Sar: The Jolly Green Giant is getting a bit old and as much as he and Jens would bond comparing hip injuries, he really has to prove that he belongs in the first team. After turning 37 recently, could he also have to give his place up to Number 2? Ben Foster is waiting in the wings, and even though Edwin has done well, only conceding 4 goals in 11 Premier League games, with Arsenal just blasting the goals in, can he keep it up?
Manuel Almunia: He has mad Jens waiting for him to screw up and his last encounter with Manchester United wasn’t pretty. Maybe it was because he was new at Arsenal, but he imagined himself to be a direct replacement for Ashley Cole and charged out to the left wing and tried to stop Giggs way out of the box…who promptly flicked the ball past Almunia. To compound his misery John O’Shea (He of the rapist first touch) got a goal. A lobbed goal that left Almunia on his arse. True, its ancient history, but you never know with these footballing types. He can’t mess up this time.
In the end of the day, it’s the team that wins or loses. Both teams have benches creaking with talent and players desperately waiting for chances. But with both teams top of the league, equal on points, we’re going to need some top-class performances to get a result. It’s anyone’s game with both teams and players being in great form…but I’m thinking…what is 26 + 3 + a game in hand? A chance at the title!
My prediction? 2-1 to the Arsenal! (See? I’m not a fence sitter like Mark Lawrenson! He earns more than me though. Hint Hint, Ed)