Monday, May 4, 2009

Arsenal-Manchester United Prediction Contest/Preview

Morning all. Going to be a quick one this morning as I've got some stuff to get done today to make sure I have my afternoon clear for tomorrow's match. Everyone getting excited yet? I've been thinking about it since last week's match on and off but I think it's just now setting in that the game of the season is tomorrow.

Today I want predictions, thoughts, and everything else to go along with the match tomorrow. If you've got what you think is the score, share it with us, and if you think you can guess Arsene Wenger's lineup then go for it.

I think the match really depends a lot on the first 20 minutes. If we come out and we're playing well and controlling the ball, even if we haven't scored I think that will give us a huge boost for the rest of the match. If we could get an early goal that would be immense because theoretically we could win the match 1-0 and still go through on penalties but that is leaving too much to chance and I don't know that any team can shut out United when they need a goal in a match this big. It's all down to how our midfield and defense can stifile players like Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, and Berbacunt and control the ball. Against Portsmouth we had a lot of possession and the game turned out like you'd want any game to. The last United match though we were pressured and couldn't hold onto it like we needed to and well, we were awful going forward.

The key to the day is yet again Cesc Fabregas. Wenger needs to play him in his central midfield role and not as a support striker. His passing, vision, and control, not to mention his cool, are just what we need in midfield. He dictates our tempo and sets the table for players like Walcott, Adebayor, etc. Speaking of Adebayor, I'm not sure if he'll get to start or not tomorrow, with Bendtner having a good match against Pompey Saturday and Robin van Persie training today. A player like van Persie is important to have because he has a dimension that Adebayor and Bendtner don't really have, and that is some trickiness and cleverness with the ball. I don't know if he will start or not but I'd expect to see him at some point for sure.

Obviously if United score the task becomes a lot more difficult a lot more quickly. Clichy and Gallas are still both out but Silvestre is back training so he should start. Eboue could play at left back again or Gibbs could slot in there. Either way they have a rough task on their hands. United aren't going to sit back with just a one goal lead, nor do they every just sit back and defend. Ronaldo and Rooney are real game changers, who even if United aren't playing well can score a goal on their own that puts us in a really tough spot of having to score three goals. Almunia needs to have another top notch day but he really needs some quality help from his defenders.

Theo Walcott will be important down the right-hand side. Patrice Evra hasn't had his best season for sure at left back and we'll need to try to get him into some space where he can use his pace and quickness. I hope to see Nasri on the left instead of that awful central midfield role that Wenger had him in last week which was really not playing to his abilities. And I'd like to see Alex Song continue in the team in the holding midfield role. Of all our players, I think he's improved the most this year and his work ethic in trying to shut down the other teams attack is one to be admired. He's certainly not the prettiest out there, but he has been effective and we need him in there for such a big match.

So like I said, I want to hear from all of you today. I want score predictions, lineup predictions, and how you think the match will go as a whole. I'm going to make it into a little bit of a contest, with the winner getting a £10 gift card from Arsenal.com. All you have to do to win is predict the match score along with the scorers. I'll even pay for the shipping. So submit your predictions either to my email, which is ArseNole[at]arsenole[dot]com or just leave it in the comments with your name. Remember, you have to be IN the contest to WIN the contest, so you might as well get your name in! Come on you Gunners!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Arsenal 1 Man u 0 (Van Persie). Arsenal to go through on penalties.

Mike said...

My prediction is Arsenal 2 - United 1. We take an early lead with goals from Van Persie and Fabregas, but United breaks our hearts with a Rooney goal to advance. I hope I am wrong!

I'd really like to see Eboue start at left back. Gibbs has been good, but for this game we need to be extra strong in attack and I like Eboue for that.

Up front I want to see Adebayor and Van Persie if he's fit. True, Bendtner had a good game at Pompey but unfortunately I think he will shrink on this stage. We didn't sign Ade to that big contract to sit him on the bench against United in the CL.

Julio Ricardo said...

We cannot play tentatively like we did last week, and god bless the Spaniard keep for keeping us close, since it could have easily been 4-0. I like out chances at Emirates today. It all comes down to Fabregas controlling the game.

Arsenal 2 United 1

Off to Rome against Barca. What a game that would be.

ArseNole said...

Yes Julio it would be a great match, but the problem is if it's 2-1 today we won't be going through. I'm not feeling extremely confident, I'll admit, but I am hopeful. I'm going to take 3-1 to the Arsenal. Come on you Gunners!

Joaquin said...

2-0 to the gunners. rvp and walcott to score. I expect the team to be :
Al, sagna toure djourou eboue
nasri cesc song theo
rvp
ade