Manchester United Preview: Arsenal Are Being Underestimated…

For the first time since 1906 Arsenal travel to Manchester United for an FA Cup Quarter Final tie, hoping to repeat their victory of 95 years ago. It is the thirteenth time the two sides have met in this competition, the previous twelve seeing an even split of victories.

Arsenal will be boosted by the continued return of Robin van Persie, skipper for the day in the absence of Cesc Fàbregas. The visitors have not scored a goal from open play in an FA Cup tie against United since the 2-0 victory in 2003.

Much is being made of the defeat in Barcelona requiring victory to put the season back on track, consecutive losses in ‘big’ games will condemn Arsenal to another season in the doldrums.

Or at least that is the logic of those with a negative agenda. There is, of course, evidence of previous seasons to support it but another angle worth remembering is the exit of The Invincibles from the Champions League and Manchester United in quick succession. Victory over Liverpool in the Premier League had that season back on course in no time at all.

Arsène gave the theory some credence,

We need it I must say, because we need help. We have been touched severely recently and we are chasing after a win of that type. We will try to win.

We need to keep the right attitude to turn the luck around on our side a little bit.

There is no doubt that the defeat to Barcelona will have hurt, especially knowing that somehow destiny had been grasped close to the Arsenal bosom, if only for three minutes. Yet this should be a spur for the team. Rightly chastised for their unadventurous performance, the defensive nature exacerbated by Robin van Persie’s dismissal, the criticism ought to provoke a strong reaction, overriding the negativity of defeat. Whether it will or not remains to be seen.

The last time that Arsenal travelled to Old Trafford for an FA Cup tie, Arsène fielded a weaker than usual team, the naivety of their play ruthlessly exposed by a strong United XI, compounded by the sending off of Emmanuel Eboué early in the second half. The game had gone by that time.

This time around, United’s injury list is longer than Arsenal’s. Ferdinand, Park, Nani and Valencia are all definitely out. The latter trio ensure that Ferguson will flood the midfield, numbers overwhelming the Arsenal intricacies. Few can argue that it has been anything other than successful in this fixture over the years.

In all competitions, Arsenal have won only one of their last eleven visits, eight of which have ended in defeat with a miserly three goals scored since eliminating United from the FA Cup in 2003. It is a poor record and one that Arsenal will seek to reverse.

Today’s team will see a few but not many changes to the starting line-up. With Cesc out, Wenger has to decide whether Samir Nasri reverts to the central role and Eboué the right or if Aaron Ramsey has sufficiently recovered from his injury to allow a resumption of the central midfield duties that he was carrying out with great promise before The Boot Of Ryan intervened.

Today might be that day. There has to come a point when Ramsey returns to the first team and whilst he might not have played ninety minutes of every match at Nottingham Forest or Cardiff, his loan spells will have hastened his recovery. This evening will see that completed.

The line-up I expect Arsène to field is:

Almunia; Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy; Ramsey, Diaby, Wilshere; Nasri, van Persie, Arshavin

It is an attacking XI; Arsenal are at their best with this style of play and United are not at their strongest. Will defeat be damaging if this line-up were to lose? I do not believe it will be irreversible, especially with a week until the next match.

It is an omen-tastic clash. Twice before during Arsène Wenger’s reign have the two sides met in March; both seasons saw one of the clubs hoist the FA Cup and Arsenal win the Premier League title. Twice before on this date have the two sides met, a goalless draw in 1910 followed by a 4-2 win for Arsenal in 1930.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

548 thoughts on “Manchester United Preview: Arsenal Are Being Underestimated…

  1. dfb says:

    I thought the team played quite well yesterday, especially after the recent results they’ve suffered. Don’t think they could do much more. I did think I’d watched the game before though. We dominate, have lots of possession, play football on the edge of their box and concede on the break. Why does this happen so often and what can we do to stop it happening future ?

  2. SUGA3 says:


    please dude, my sides are splitting, what does he do then, Jedi mind tricks? certainly pulled one off on you, perhaps he should try one of these on the referee then! 😆

    not persisting with the failed game plan for 60 minutes would be a start, sometimes you have to make a sub after 30 minutes if things don’t work out as planned, but it’s hard to see if all you do is sit and chat shit with Pat Rice…

  3. Queen of suburbia says:

    If believing was easy Suga, every fucker would do it.

  4. cx says:


    Forgive me but I believe logic should be the crux of any argument (sadly lacking in your assertions of Wenger’s management),
    Secondly, arsenal were always in the ascendancy (more shot on targets and possession at all stages of the game), hence your point on an early substitution is weak

  5. SUGA3 says:


    there is that joke that blondes watch the porn movies right until the credits, as they believe there will be a wedding in the end 😆

    being a fan, I believe we can do it until it is mathematically impossible, but as they say, there is more ‘cautious’ than ‘optimistic’ in this cautiously optimistic fucker…

    peace 😉

  6. SUGA3 says:


    there is that joke that blondes watch the X rated movies right until the credits, as they believe there will be a wedding in the end 😆

    being a fan, I believe we can do it until it is mathematically impossible, but as they say, there is more ‘cautious’ than ‘optimistic’ in this cautiously optimistic fucker…

    peace 😉

  7. SUGA3 says:


    game against Sunderland, Denilson off after 61 painstakingly long minutes, should have been fed to the crowd Eboue stylee after 30 at best…

    you never know, it might just get the Emirates going 👿

  8. cx says:

    By then Sunderland seemd to have retired all attacking intentions and were defending deep, bringing on a more attacking player earlier may have left us exposed.
    The lack of rationale behind booing is astounding, it clearly doesn’t instill confidence, except u want ur team to lose why indulge in it?

  9. Joshua says:


    As a fan you’ve shown zero belief from day one. I read Le grove quite a bit and there’s no evidence of your so-called belief. At all. The only fraud I see here is your good self. Players that have taken us to a final which they lost to a mistake arising from two of our best palyers are frauds in your view? players that even as we speak remain 3 points off the lead in the premiership are frauds in your view? Player who took on the “Best team in the world TM” and where ahead in the tie till we had a player bizarrely sent off are frauds in your quite spectacularly stupid view?…. The only fraud I see is some one like yourself walking around calling yourself anArsenal fan when all you do is thrash our players and glory in every set back. Seriously STFU.

  10. SUGA3 says:


    well, sometimes you have to dish it out – Ebowie upped his game after being booed off for being shit and now he is a crowd favourite, no?


    at the start of the season, I said we would come short without another proper striker, backup DM and defender, as I knew all the way Vermaelen was fucked Rosicky stylee…

    and guess what? I was right…

  11. Queen of suburbia says:

    Slightly unrelated gag that Suga.

    The point is, talking about hating Arsenal players should wait till the end of the season. When they will be league champions.

  12. Frank says:

    It would seem that someone has shat on this site this morning

  13. SUGA3 says:


    not if you think about it: there is probably no ‘wedding’ at the end of this one either 😉

  14. Frank says:

    …you can almost hear the snickering

  15. SUGA3 says:


    maybe it was you? you strike me as someone who might not remember…

  16. Sad says:

    Why do You guys Even bother. Sugar has such a thick skull of ignorance around hid brain I doub anyone will ever manage to change his view by words. He feels pain now that is clear and he tries to soother the pain by trading insults with you. The most hurtful thing that could happen now would be you guys ignoring him. How would he then deal with his pain? Nobody to yell at. Nobody to mock. Dammit guys you feed suga3 he would not exist if you did no feed him. If you hate him don’t read or respond to him. If you think hecis a fun distraction to toy with by all means, continue. But do not then complain about him. Suga is what you want him to be. Without your response he is nothing .

  17. Joshua says:

    This is the sort of idiocy on has to deal with here… according to Goonerton Wenger has no concept of defence… that we have conceded the same number of goals as Alex Ferguson’s United this season with a defence that none of the clowns on here shouting the odds ever gave a chance. Let’s all forget that Vidic was paired with a player Wenger wanted to sign from Fulham but got Gazumped by Fergie… but Wenger doesn’t know a good CB does he? It’s because George Graham gave the back 5 of Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Ashley Cole and Lauren… what a shit defence that was? Unbelievable some fans.

    The reason al;l these cockroaches are crawling out of their dank crevises is because they can see that both Szczensy and Fabianski are injured and that Djourou is out for the season alongside Vermaelen so they’ve come to gloat that we’ll end the season with nothing because in their small tiny minds it’s all over for us… We shall see

  18. Frank says:

    My principal concern this morning is for the health of Johan Djourou.

    Having said that I was impressed that Aaron Ramsey dropped into a CH position for the last 15 minutes of the game when we were down to ten players. I believe that he will be a very influential player indeed for us in seasons to come, and maybe even this season.

  19. SUGA3 says:


    you, my friend, sound like a Soviet political officer who would shoot the retreating soldiers…

    I a presenting my views, I could not care less if any Sad/Frank/other dimwit incapable of conducting a reasoned debate responds to me or not…

  20. jjgsol says:

    WE find oursleves in catch 22 situation.

    If we try to pass through the defence to get to a shooting opportunity near the goal, massed defences prevent our getting through, and the fans complain that we do not shoot enough.

    So, instead they start shooting long. However, then the goalies save them, which is what they are trained to do, so we are stymied. Premier League goalies, are, by and large good ones, hence it always seems that they are having a blinder against us. It just seems that way because we have, usually, so many shots on target.

    Barca spent the whole game trying to pass through our defence and only got through a few times. If Manure or Chelsea, or even the scum play them, are they not better at massed defence than we are? Won’t they do better aganst Barca?

    Nowadays, tactics are everything. We played as we did tactically against barca and triumphed in the 1st leg, but not in the 2nd.

    Manure, supposedly the top footballing side in the country, plays at home with 7 defenders and sits back and lets the away team control the game. A few years ago, their fans would have booed them off the pitch and been embarrassed by that.

    AW is a terrific manager, but is he a tactician? I wish I could give that question a resounding yes, but I cannot. WE see too often that his tactics do not work.

    The answer is not for him to go. Perhaps, if Pat Rice is leaving at the end of the season, can we get someone in who can take more control of the on the field tactics.

    I hesitate to say anything, as anything one says that can be interpreted as a critisism, is met by a barrage of insults here.

    MY intention is not to critisize, but to suggest a solution to our obvious problems.

  21. Queen of suburbia says:

    We will find out soon Suga.

  22. Frank says:

    I was also very impressed with Jack and the way he gave Paul Scholes what for for his attempts to injure our players. Scholes went red to the roots with embarassment at one point.

  23. Passenal says:

    They have le groan, why do they feel the need to pollute everywhere else? I have no interest in their views or I would go over there to read them. I don’t even read them on here. They really don’t get what supporting a football team is all about. It’s a two way relationship. If you want the team to do well, you have to give something to them i.e. unconditional support and backing especially when they need it most. It’s easy to go around puffing out your chest and claiming to be a supporter in the good times. A real supporter also stands up proud when the world appears to be crashing down. And for those who claim to have been supporting us since the year dot, they seem to have very short memories as I recall the invincibles crashing out of the FAC and CL that season as well.

  24. Frank says:

    Cup competitions come and go. The mark of character for this squad will be in their ability to dust themselves off and win the EPL. I think they have it in them.

  25. Frank says:

    Of the two Manc games the most important one is yet to come.

  26. Joshua says:

    Suga 3 …
    You also said that Djourou wasn’t good enough, that Fabianski wasn’t good enough, that our team was substandard, that Tottenham and City were all better equipped than us… you said all sorts of quite lamentably wrong BS that has not only turned wrong but spectacularly so. At no point did you imagine that we’d be good enough to challenge in the league ahead of Chelsea and City and at no point did you imagine that this team would do what they have done this season. Like I said only a fraud of a fan would call players who restricted Barcelona to only 2 shots on target when 11 v 11 at the Camp Nou frauds especaislly given that one of those shots was as a result of silly mistake by our captain…

    And there’s no way you could have known what the matter was with Vermaelen as even the most expert opinions in Sports medicine were unsure. The guy ended up in Sweden to have his operation- says it all really but you calim you knew immediately… likely story. The advice to the manager was that the player needed rest! That was the expert opinion but a clueless spouter on the web like yourself claims to have KNOWN what was wrong with Vermaelen without having seen his achilles or been anywhere near him! So there you have it ,… Suga3 the Mystic Meg of the internet

    The reason you said that Vermaelen wasn’t going to play again this season, if you even said it, at the beginning when he had his injury, is that you doomers have a desire to see the worst crisis hit the club because of your blind hatred for Wenger and stupid desire for the club to splurge the cash on the like Cahill or whoever. Pathetic.

  27. Frank says:

    I was also impressed by Bacary Sagna. When Blob went through him with such ill-intent, he just jumped up as if nothing had happened.

  28. Frank says:

    Kieran needs more games. I hope he can play a real part in the run in.

  29. dukeGoonem says:

    Sorry passsenal but now is the time for reflecting on a very bad result, its no time to just say lets get behind the team,we can do that next week but not today. there is no excuse for our result yesterday.

    if our team cant beat a man utd b/c fukin experiemntal plucked outa thin air piss take of a team we are in serious trouble and if us fans just stand back and admire anything then we really would not progress, i m affriad going on yesterdays result you could say we have gone backwards although i refuse to belive it, i truly had high hopes that this would be the season to shut the pundtits and everyother fucker up but it is panning out the same, only the title will stop the rot now but we are going to be up against it.

  30. Goonerton says:

    Our so called captain hugging and kissing his mates before KO? Ask yourself if you would ever see Tony Adams, or any Utd players doing that shit in the tunnel?! WTF was I seeing?

    Cesc says “our dressing room is great as there is no shouting in there”.
    I havean been lucky enough to play at a half decent level for several teams and have never been in one that has a happy chuckling dressing room when things are going downhill. And you you can tell that the players do not get hammered in the dressing room for the childish mistakes that are made cos they do the same things every week. There is no system at the back and nobody leading FACT.

    That was the worse Utd team I have seen in years and they made us look like cunts with two untried wingmen?

    When Van Persie got sent off Wenger didn’t even change it for a good 5mins he just stood there complaining to the official and more hand waving. You knew we needed defence cover and a top goalie and you made us think you were going to so that right up to the last minute just like you been doing with Bendtner for the past 3 yrs. “don’t forget we still have Bendtner to come back” how many times you heard that?

    Waited till the end of the season about 4 yrs now so please save that one for one of the brainwashed sheep. You shouldn’t have any trouble as there are 1000s of them.

    What would of been wrong Andy Caroll for inflated 35mill? I mean we got at least 50million sat there and at leaste Caroll knows where the goal is. Unlike Bendtner and Cham. Chances not taken at this level cost you and money should not be the object as we have plenty. But, it seems we are more of a bank these days than a club chasing for honours.

  31. Passenal says:

    Sad | March 13, 2011 at 10:17 am |

    Good point Sad.

    jjgsol – constructive criticism is fine. The people who get abused are known trouble makers who never post here except when we lose and only to single out individual scapegoats regardless of their role in the defeat.

    I disagree with you about tactics. If he has the players to choose from, Arsene is perfectly capable of picking the right players or making the substitutions to change the game. However, he believes that the team has a style, which they should impose on other team. Much as I hate to say it, BBB do not change their basic style according to who they play and it has not done them any harm. Just because Arsene choses to play the former rather than the latter style should not be discounted as a failure. The more experienced and accomplished the players become at playing this way, the more successful it will become.

  32. Frank says:

    The Manc ‘strategy’ of sitting back very nearly blew up in their faces yesterday. They were relying on VdS having a fantastic swansong. Luckily for them he did.

  33. Big Johan says:

    Let’s be clear about one thing – without an outstanding display by van der Sar we would have won 4-2 or 5-2 – a point sadly ignored by the media (other than by Strachan, bless him) and a number of so called supporters. I for one will will be doubling up my bet on Arsenal to win the league

  34. Frank says:

    You seem a bit confused, Goonerton

  35. SUGA3 says:


    and I still believe Fabianski is not good enough to be our no.1, as Szczesny pisses all over him from a great height, should have started the season in goal IMO…

    with regards to Djourou, I thought he was clumsy and had a few penalties per season in him, well, he ironed it out and I admitted I was wrong, didn’t I?

  36. Joshua says:


    Grow up. Arsenal v Barcelona is a football match not a war and there’s absolutely no reason why Cesc cannot be committed to his club and also respect his fellow Catalans in the Barca team. Cesc it was who won and scored a penalty last season ON A BROKEN LEG to make it 2-2 last season. Cesc it was who played to crucial pass to send Nasri away to set up Arshavin for the goal that made it 2-1 this season. He shouldn’t have played at the camp Nou as he wasn’t fit but that is frankly understandable given who and what he is… Some fans will maon about anything without giving anyone the benefit of the doubt or even the basic respect their achievements entitle them to… unbelieveable.

  37. SUGA3 says:


    no dude, YOU grow up…

    same ‘irrelevant’ shit like not wearing suits to the final…

  38. Passenal says:

    Duke, there is no problem reflecting on a defeat – it’s been a hard week and we’re all disappointed. But abusing individual players on the internet is not helpful to anyone. All it does is create a climate of negativity and doom and gloom around the place. How does that help the team to pick themselves up for the next challenge? How does that help the supporters to keep their chins up so that they can continue to back the players against that overwhelming tide of negativity? Just because something has happened in the past, doesn’t mean that it will happen again and a changed outcome starts with a changed mind set. Start thinking positively and positive outcomes will flow.

  39. Joshua says:

    Suga 3…

    You were flat out wrong about Djourou, just plain flat out wrong. there is no clumsiness about him at all. He is about the most composed and dominant and skillfull CB in the league and given his age he was always going to get better. The fact remains that left to you he wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to even show what he could do because you not only called him clumsy but said that he wasn’t good enough to be 4th choice! That is more than merely being wrong… it shows a level of cluelessness that ought to induce a bit more humility in a wiser individual. Alas you can only be yourself.

    Fabinski absolutely deserved to be picked ahead of Szczesny. Absolutely. His kicking and distribution is far superior and his shot stopping is on a par if not better than Szczesny’s. Szczensny is the more dominant character and he sells himself well but I’d argue very strongly that Fabianski has never had a performance as erratic as the one we saw from Szczensy in the Carling Cup final. He rash rushing out at ever opportunity is part of what you’d expect from a young keeper. The guy is talented but it is the clowns who always either need scapegoats or unfailing heroes who have made Szczensy better than he actually is. Fabianski was outstanding till he hurt himself and his performance against both Wolves and Everton away, not mention his save against Silva in the ManCity match, again away from home, is something that Szczensny has not come close to matching this season. So the facts say that you just spouting a load of tropes that are taken as unchallengable truths in that den of idiots called Le groan.

    I’m sorry but a lot of the things you said at the beginning of the season are actually quite embarrassing when we recall them now… even Walcott was someone for whom you had little or no time!

  40. Joshua says:


    Yeah… we lost the Carling Cup final because we didn’t wear suits! Very grown up opinion that…. all we need is suits.

    To imagine that Cesc cannot play against his friends or that he has to ignore them just because he is playing against them is fantastically infantile. The same thing happened at the Grove in the last two season’s and Cesc had outstanding games. He wasn’t fit to start and so he shouldn’t have started.. that is the relevant point. Who he hugs and why is utterly irrelevant as the guy has shown himself, even at the age of 23 to be a consummate pro. If you were as good a fan as Cesc is a pro we won’t be having this worthless exchange.

  41. Goonerton says:

    Wake up. Wenger has been getting his tactics wrong for years v Utd. Fergie can’t believe how easy it is to play against a team who he knows could rip him apart if deployed properly but, Fergie also knows what Wenger is like and knows he won’t change anything he will just keep playing the same way as we have seen many many times before and will continue to see as long as he is there.

    Forget tactics and formations for excuses because even if they were right we still have no leaders or anybody in the side who will pull somebody over and give a a rocket up the arse for doing something stupid like a back heel v Barca just outside your own penalty box.

    Wenger didn’t put steel into Henry, Patrick, Pires, Overmars etc. Those players already had that before they came. It’s clear to me that Wenger doesn’t know how to put steel into players but, knows how to get them to take two touches maximum.

    We are said to be the best passing side in England but, up v Barca we couldn’t even get a shot on goal. To some of you this seems to be ok because you have all the excuses taught to you by Wenger. I can’t blame you cos i too was under the bullshit spell but, just try to remember that we haven’t won shit for nearly 7 yrs now and that Birmingham have won more than us in the last 6 yrs. And then tell me I’m talking shit.

    The thing that scares me the most is seeing some of the post on here stating that we are ok and that Wenger is top draw.

    A Centre Back and a top stopper and a striker who gets goals is what has been required for some years now and nothing but, foreign crap has come in. NO LEADERS NOBODY PULLING YOU UP WHEN YOU MESS UP.
    Sounds like a great place to work in eh.

    Hope you all enjoy your weekend and your journey to work tomorrow knowing that again your team got smashed after having the ball for 90% of the match just like that wanker who you work with said so.

  42. Paul N says:

    Goonerton, Birmighman have won? so in essence Birmingham are in a better position that us becuase they won the Carling Cup? get real.

    What age where these players when they won and what had they won prior to coming to Arsenal? Dont say they had steel already, back that up with some proof. How do you know they had steel?

    The invincible team was very strong but I remember them losing confidence after the loss against Man United.

    Its not easy to lose hard games and get right back up in any sport no matter who you have.

    Are you saying that RVP, Nasri, Sagna, Song dont have steel? yu mad to backside!

    Goonerton your comment is a joke overall, plain bull crap for we find ourselves at the top of the PL with the so called crappy players. We have all you say we need and you are crying’

    We have a top notch goalie, striker and CB’s, if you dont like foreigners go and support another team. However the best CB, striker and goalie in the are PL not english.
    only fact you have stated is that we didnt have a shot on goal vs Barca but what you dont know is what wouldve taken place…
    However what you miss enitrely is that Barcelona had not lost for a very long time prior to Arsenal.

    What an embarrassing comment. very immature, shortsighted and mostly factless!

    shame on you!

  43. Paul N says:

    Joshua, maybe if Cesc wouldve stood up for his team mates during the match.

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