Friday, August 28, 2009
Old Trafford will witness the first Big 4 clash of the 2009/2010 Barclays Premier League season. The second plum fixure of this weekend pits Manchester United against Arsenal. Already the press is building up the historical rivalry between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
This is a testament of the great start that Arsenal have made this season. Ten goals scored against Everton and Portsmouth have made them one of the in-form team in the league. United, notoriously slow starters, may find this match has come a little bit too early for them.
Cesc Fabregas is already ruled out of this game and his absence will be missed. Nevertheless, the attacking trio of Eduardo, Robin Van Persie and Arshavin are a threat to any team. Vidic and co will have to work hard to contain the clever movement and pace of the Arsenal attack.
United's midfield have only a slight edge over the Gunners trio of Diaby, Song and Denilson. Arsenal look lightweight in midfield and that must be addressed during the transfer window. Manchester United have experience and tenacity in their midfield. Much will depend on the Denilson vs. Carrick matchup.
Former Ajax captain Thomas Vermaelen has been a fantastic influence in the Arsenal defence, making light of Kolo Toure's departure to the Manchester City. Together with Gallas, this confrontation with Rooney and Berbatov will be his hardest test so far. A good display against the United duo will prove that Arsene Wenger is the undisputed leader in talent spotting.
I expect an entertaining match between two footballing sides. United looked to have more power about them but Arsenal have the technical ability to score against any team. Hence, the expectation is that the first Big 4 match will end in a score draw.
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