Arsenal vs Man Utd
Arsenal enjoyed the top spot briefly as Chelsea missed out on games in hand. This looks like being an elimination match to reduce the title contenders down to two.
Both teams are lacking strikers and most fans thought that both Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger would sign a striker as soon as the transfer window opened. The fact is there are few good strikers up for sale and the game is in turmoil financially.
Man U are in debt to the tune of $1.2 billion, the sale of Ronaldo made it a profitable year for them but any future profits are threatened by the debt burden.
This has affected matters on the pitch as Ferguson has not been offered money for a striker. Wayne Rooney is having his most prolific season to date; he is on the verge of 23 goals in total.
Arsenal has reverted to old players; Sol Campbell looks a spent force. He was struggling at Pompey and failed to fit in with Notts County.
Arsenal will have to play deep to compensate for his lack of pace, this will make their passing less penetrative. Campbell will mostly be cover for when Vermaelen and Gallas aren’t fit.
Man U are still a patchwork team of veterans and misfits. They are lucky Rooney has been in such dominant form.
The key for Man U will be to restrict the role of Fabregas, O’Shea would have been a good man-marker but he’s out. Carrick will be crucial in keeping United ticking but Scholes always produces the killer pass.
Arsenal will be glad to have Alex song back, he and Abou Diaby make the centre tight and allow captain Fab to play a more attacking role. Arshavin just behind and Nasri alternating wings makes it hard to read Arsenal but they lack a killer striker.
I imagined if Arsenal had Drogba or Torres? Would they play the same attacking game? Most likely not, it is the lack of a striker that makes Arsenal beautiful to watch.
The last game ended in a win for Man U thanks to a thoughtless own goal by Diaby, there will be no such charity at the Emirates.
Anderson is crucial for Man U to win, his hyper-active non-stop game is crucial in away games, Rooney will play alone up front with a fluid 5-man midfield.
For Arsenal it is important that they do not concede early, they have to use Diaby to push down the middle while others flank him. Fabregas is always crucial, but Song is even more so as he free up the space for Fab to Exploit.
I think both sides would accept a draw but Arsenal need to restore pride and get second place. I see a 1-1 draw for this game, too many tactics will spoil the game.