Manchester United—still pumping with the adrenaline rush from its FA Cup win against league rivals Manchester City—will be looking to close the gap to its noisy neighbours against Arsenal this weekend after its 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford last week.
Traveling away to the Emirates will not be an easy task and a repeat of United's 8-2 heroics of last year seems unlikely. However, we are sure to get a good game.
Here are my predictions for United's starting lineup against Arsenal.
GK: Anders Lindegaard
It'd seem odd to bring David de Gea back in against Arsenal of all people, so Lindegaard is my pick.
LB: Patrice Evra
Patrice Evra's performances have been a bit too inconsistent for my liking, but he is the captain in Nemanja Vidic's absence—and as such, Evra should start.
Rafael is United's first choice right-back and it showed against Bolton. The Brazilian's composure was in stark contrast to the performances of Antonio Valencia and Phil Jones who'd deputized in his absence.
CB: Rio Ferdinand
CB: Chris Smalling
Chris Smalling has rarely gotten a chance this season to play in his favored centre-back position, but I think the young defender will partner Rio Ferdinand in the center of United's defense.
LM: Luis Nani
RM: Antonio Valencia
Antonio Valencia has being United's best player over the last three to four weeks and how he was ever behind Ashley Young in the pecking order is an unsolved mystery. One thing I do know though is that Valencia will start against Arsenal.
CM: Paul Scholes
Anderson didn't make the bench for the fixture against Bolton last week, hinting at a possible knock for the Brazilian. Paul Scholes to pick up where he left off against Bolton, surely? I think so. Ryan Giggs is another option.
CM: Michael Carrick
Carrick has been instrumental for United in their last few games and will be rewarded with a start against Arsenal.
Barring injury, Wayne Rooney should start against Arsenal.
With Javier Hernandez's goal-scoring form not up to the levels of last year, Danny Welbeck's physicality and athleticism is the next-best thing for United in attack. The English international came off in the second half against Bolton with a slight knock, but all should be well by match-day.