This Arsenal squad had a rough start to their EPL season, tying two one-win teams in Sunderland and Stoke City. Arsenal has fared well against league opponents since then, going 5-1-2, their only loss coming to top ranked Chelsea.
Manchester United is having another signature season, currently sitting second in the EPL standings. Their seven wins incorporated a stunning offensive performance against Chelsea on Sunday, which included a late goal from their graceful 24-year-old striker Chicharito.
Both Arsenal and Manchester United need a win in this game to gain ground on the upper third of the standings in what’s sure to be a highly contested game.
Where: Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England
When: Saturday, November 3, 8:45 a.m. EST
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Arsenal: Where will the scoring come from?
After a slow start, Arsenal is beginning to look like the Gunners of old.
Their defense has been extraordinary, letting up just .66 goals per game in EPL play.
Their defense hasn’t been a question, but this is a team that’s been shut out by teams who, frankly, aren’t very good.
The Gunners were held goalless in three games against one win teams Sunderland, Stoke City and Norwich City.
Arsenal ranks seventh in the league in goals per game, but has a pretty even distribution of goals amongst their squad.
Gervinho leads the team with three goals in EPL play, while Podolski, Cazorla and Walcott tail him with two each.
In Arsenal’s last EPL game against QPR on Saturday, the Gunners scored just one goal against a winless QPR team whose days in the EPL are numbered.
They’re going to need to do better against Manchester United, as Man U will be scoring.
The opportunities will be limited against this Man U defense. This game is going to come down to how well Arsenal midfielders Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey can patrol the midfield and feed Gervinho and Podolski.
Manchester United: Are they as good as their record?
EPL goal leader Robin Van Persie is the most dynamic playing in the league, but does his individual performance overshadow a mediocre squad?
Saturday’s game will answer that question.
However, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is smart enough to know that shutting down Van Persie is a top priority. In fact, Wenger’s defense is good enough to keep Van Persie at bay on Saturday.
Manchester United is going to have to manufacture goals from other sources.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson should cultivate Saturday’s offense around 27-year-old veteran Wayne Rooney (two goals, four assists and nineteen shots in six games this season).
If Rooney can’t get it done on Saturday, this is going to be a very interesting and competitive game.
Man U is allowing 1.4 goals per game in EPL play. Rio Ferdinand can’t have any slip-ups in Saturday’s game; he has to be a rock on defense.
Defender Rafael has two goals and ten shots on the season, but needs to drop back and secure the defense along with Ferdinand.
This matchup will come down to how well Arsenals’ defense can contain United’s illustrious offensive attack. Van Persie will be contained and held scoreless, but Rooney will be able to score at least once.
Manchester United will knock off Arsenal 1-0 at Old Trafford.