Theatre of Dreams in crunch Man United-Arsenal blockbuster

Theatre of Dreams in crunch Man United-Arsenal blockbuster

Theatre of Dreams in crunch Man United-Arsenal blockbuster

The black eyes on their faces were evident. Never had anyone of them experienced such a lesson in cataclysmic proportions. Arsenal had visited Old Trafford last season ready to take on their title rivals, only to be brutally exposed and gunned down by a ruthless showcase of the Red Devils’ ammunition. That vicious show of force had left the Gunners and their fans shell-shocked, shaken and stirred, with the United fans in complete delirium.

You do remember that day. That August 8-2 thumping was the worst in decades, an affair that left the ego of the North London side completely wiped out. The Mancunians had taken the Emirates outfit to the cleaners, wiping the floor with them in the process. It was an excruciating experience for their faithful who had watched helplessly as a plethora of stars left Arsenal for greener pastures.

That match ended up being a turning point for the Gunners. Panic buying struck the frugal pockets of Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal hierarchy. In came the likes of Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker, as Le Prof’s men spared their early season’s blushes to end the campaign in third spot.

Was the lesson learnt? Only 3:45pm today can tell. The Professor of Economics will not want the same figures being displayed on the Theatre of Dream’s score board as the Frenchman leads his team back to their last season’s slaughterhouse.  The Arsenal gaffer has already restocked his side, what with Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and the impressive playmaker Santi Carzola joining his ranks. Nevertheless, it’s the loss of his last season’s captain that may end up giving him a sleepless night.

Robin van Persie has been a revelation for the Mancunians. But we know that already, don’t we? Seven league goals so far in 9 matches just goes to show what Arsene is missing. After all, the Dutchman lifted his former club to the echelons of playing amongst the elite in this season’s continental matters.

Having struck a formidable partnership with Wayne Rooney and Antonio Valencia, the defensive duo of Mertesacker and Vermaelen will certainly have to be on guard throughout the match. Robin may prove he’s United’s Batman.

The Red Devils are on a high after amassing three crucial points in their highly controversial game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Sir Fergie’s charges are currently this season’s goal scoring machine, and if Andre Santos will be plying the left back position, expect Valencia and Rafael da Silva to have a field day. While Arsenal are impeccable in possession and the Old Trafford outfit devastating in counter attacking, these two teams have a knack of producing an eye-catching treat for any football lover.

United are on the last leg of their gruesome six-match affair that will have seen them taking on Liverpool, Spurs, Newcastle, Stoke, Chelsea and Arsenal. Sir Fergie’s men have won four of their past five league matches and will be seeking a fifth victory against the North Londoners. This match would have been different, had it been played before the international break.

The Emirates side were playing great football, but were brought back to earth courtesy of two devastating defeats at the hands of Norwich City and Schalke 04. Not that defeat is written across their foreheads, as the Capital One clash against Reading went on to smack the daylights out of their doubters and critics. Just like United, the capital side can also do a comeback and the players have goals in their legs.

But can the visitors give their gaffer a holiday pass to the French Riviera by doing a Tottenham at the same ground? The last time the Gunners left Old Trafford as victors was back in August 2006. Oh wait. Does it help that it’s Howard Webb officiating the mouthwatering tie?

Probable Lineups

Man United: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley; Valencia, Rooney, Young; Van Persie

Arsenal: Mannone; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Sagna; Arteta, Wilshere; Ramsey, Carzola, Podolski; Giroud

Kick off at 3:45pm LIVE on SuperSport3

Read more on : Columnists

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