Manchester United vs. Arsenal: FA Cup quarter-final Preview
Manchester United will host Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at Old Trafford on Saturday, 12th March.
Both sides will be looking to cash in with a win and get a much needed confidence boost after some dismal recent form. United will be looking to bounce back from a poor run of form after losing to Chelsea and Liverpool in their last two matches in the Premier
On the other hand, Arsenal will also look to bounce back after being dumped out of two competitions within a fortnight. With other big teams like Liverpool and Chelsea already out of the tournament, the winner of this game will be the clear favourite to
lift the trophy.
Manchester United’s away form has been a matter of concern for their fans this season, and they will be more than happy to see this fixture taking place in their own backyard. The Red Devils beat Crawley Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup to qualify for
this stage. United struggled to a 1-0 win against the non-league side and will need to put up a better performance against Arsenal.
Both teams have played in the FA Cup on 13 occasions; United have won six times while Arsenal have won five, while the other two matches ended in a draw.
A win at Old Trafford would boost the Gunner’s chances of winning their first silverware since 2005. Arsene Wenger’s team has been in great form this season but lady luck has not been on their side. Two weeks ago the Gunners were competing for all four major
domestic and European competitions, but they have seen their hopes of silverware slowly slipping away of late.
First it was an awful mix up between Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny, which gifted Birmingham City a later winner in the Carling Cup final. A week later, the Gunners were outplayed 3-1 by Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the second leg of their Champions
League round of 16 encounter, to lose 4-3 on aggregate.
The Red Devils have a number of first team starters out through injury. Nani is the latest player to join the treatment table. The winger injured his shin after a horrible tackle from Jamie Carragher in last weekend’s Premier League game against Liverpool.
Rio Ferdinand and Ji Sung Park are also missing through injury.
There is however, some good news for United. Winger Luis Antonio Valencia is expected to feature in this game after recovering from an ankle injury which has kept him out of action since September 2010. Skipper Nemanja Vidic is also expected to return after
serving his suspension for a red card picked against Chelsea.
Like United, the Gunners injury list has also grown in the last couple of weeks. Skipper Cesc Fabregas has been ruled out due to a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has kept him out of action for the major part of this season.
Their first choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will also be out of action for three to four weeks after dislocating his finger in the game against Barcelona. Theo Walcott and Alexander Song are other long-term absentees for the Gunners.
Players to watch
Rooney is getting back to his best with each game he plays this season. The England striker is crucial on the field for United, as he moulds himself according to the role that the team need him in.
Robin van Persie
The Dutch forward has been in superb form for the Gunners since his return from injury in January. Van Persie has scored 14 goals in all competitions for the Gunners this season, and in the absence of Fabregas, he needs to carry the leadership role for
Manchester United have a slight edge as they have been really impressive at Old Trafford this season. The Red Devils have won their last eight games at the theatre of dreams. Therefore, they are expected to edge out the Gunners with a narrow 2-1 win.