Manchester United v Arsenal betting preview 28/08/2011
Manchester United: League Position: 2nd, League Form: WW
Manchester United have started this season with shows of scintillating attacking verve. Free flowing football with pace and variation has seen the Champions sweep aside Tottenham last weekend and West Brom the week before, where they were a touch less consistent in their rhythm but had spells of utter domination that were remarkably easy on the eye. The second goal against Spurs on Monday was particularly irresistible and should be seen by any who loves gorgeous goals.
The most impressive players this year have arguably been two who did not play for the team last year. Not new signings, but returning loanees. Cleverley and Welbeck, who combined for the latter’s goal against Tottenham, made the last England squad and have fitted into the side like experienced pros, and have comfortably filled the boots of Javier Hernandez and Paul Scholes for the time being.
The defence that has had to protect the shaky new ‘keeper David De Gea was without both Ferdinand and Vidic last week, yet Ferdinand may return this weekend. If not Phil Jones and Jonny Evans will line up centrally, with Smalling at right back, and that defence is definitely there to be attacked. Although talented, it is just not the masterful backline that Ferdinand and Vidic command. Otherwise, weaknesses are hard to find.
Arsenal: League Position: 14th, League Form: DL
Fabregas and Nasri are finally gone, and Arsene has yet to move in the transfer department since their moves were completed, and as such Arsenal go into this game looking significantly weaker than how they ended last season. In fact, they look weaker than when they were easily beaten by Liverpool 2-0 at home last weekend. Along with the two big names now sold, Arsenal are without Alex Song, Gervinho, Frimpong, Wilshere and possibly Vermaelen. That leaves them short in a squad that lacks depth.
Whilst they looked good midweek against Udinese, securing their Champions League place with a 2-1 win in Italy, they were second best at home to Liverpool, never looked like scoring at Newcastle the week before, and are in a little bit of turmoil as a club. The game they wanted least of all right now is a trip to Old Trafford. They are in their worst run of league form under Arsene Wenger, their worst run since 1995, with only 13 points taken from their last 13 game, whilst they have also won just a single away match in their last eight Premiership away games.
And their record at Old Trafford? Eight goals in 19 Premier League visits, and have won only one of the last eight matches against United in all competitions, losing six of those. They have one real quality player available, Robin Van Persie, and it would be a lot to ask for him to win this single handed.
Match Prediction: Manchester United WIN – 1.53 ToteSport
This is the right time for Manchester United to play Arsenal. In a game where Arsenal’s main advantage is the middle of the park, the Gunners are without Wilshere, Frimpong, Diaby and Song. Ramsey and Rosicky have a job on their hands to contain two in form youngsters in Cleverley and Anderson, whilst United may throw experienced heads like Carrick, Fletcher or Giggs into the battle to control the midfield.
Even the sparkling attack of Arsenal is lacking, with Nasri obviously absent and Gervinho still suspended. Frankly, their attacking threat is one man, Robin Van Persie, unless Walcott and Arshavin can find some form and consistency.
Until Arsene Wenger spends some money it is hard to see them beating a team who did not lose at all at home last season, are unbeaten in seven United vs Arsenal ties at Old Trafford and look in top condition.
The rhythm Sir Alex’s Ferguson’s side has shown in their past three games (Community Shield included) makes them hard favourites to beat any team that is not Barcelona. And Wayne Rooney looks back to somewhere near his best so far this term. A man who has scored two in two games, three in his last five appearances against Arsenal, and obviously the quality striker leading the United attack is hard to ignore for first goalscorer too. The signs all read Manchester United this Sunday.
Over/Under: Over 2.5 Goals – 1.8 Bet365
First Goalscorer: Wayne Rooney – 5.75 Victor Chandler
Correct Score: 3-1 Manchester United – 15.00 Paddy Power
Tottenham v Manchester City odds
Tottenham Form: WL 2.88 – Bet365
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