Tomorrow evening, the best home record in the league will have its toughest test of the season, against the team with the best away record in the division. One of these records will have to be broken. These two sides were top of the division before Man City’s victory yesterday. Is this game going to be a title decider?
So early in the campaign, no one can say with absolute certainty that this game will decide the title. But we do know that this match is going to be key in terms of giving confidence to the team that comes out victorious (unless it ends as a draw).
When Arsenal travel north to Manchester on Monday, they know that other teams (Chelsea, Man City etc) are expecting to see Arsenal falter, as we have done so often against top opposition in the Premier League over the last few years.
I hope Wilshere starts. He will provide the creative magic and the calming presence to our midfield that we need. He has great composure and is so critical to our team in Fabregas’ absence. With Nasri’s great recent form, we have (briefly) forgotten Jack’s importance to the team, but it cannot be underestimated.
This picture (source: Guardian Chalkboards) shows Wilshere’s attempted passes against Aston Villa. The fact that the majority of the passes lie in the middle third of the pitch shows that Jack is an Arsenal player through and through – he likes to keep the ball. In addition, to make 71 successful passes in any match is superb, at the level of Fabregas (Cesc managed 37 successful passes at home against Blackpool). To win against Man Utd, we believe that Jack has to start and be given the playmaker role.
Here is a nifty table we created in order to compare our results last season against our results this season. It shows us that we are on exactly the same amount of points this season after 16 games as we were at the same time last year (except this time, we are top of the league!). In our 17th match last campaign, we won, so in order to ‘keep up’ with our performances from 2009/10, a win against Man Utd is necessary.
It is difficult to guess Wenger’s team for such a game, but Clichy, Djourou and Fabregas (according to BBC Sport) have been added to the list of Almunia, Diaby, Frimpong, Gibbs and Vermaelen as players who are unavailable for the match.
Manchester United are unbeaten in the Premier League this season, and have won 7 out of 8 home matches.
Arsenal have won 5 out of 8 away matches and have the best away form in the league.
Both leading goalscorers are on 12 goals (Nasri and Berbatov).
Both teams haven’t seen enough from their key players. Fabregas has suffered from injuries and Rooney has been off-form.
Here is a form guide for the top four teams:
Man Utd, although third in the table, are on the best run of form out of the top teams. They are unbeaten in their first 15 Premier League games. If we fail to beat Utd on Monday, they will equal their greatest unbeaten run in the top flight of 16 games, last recorded in the eighties. Chelsea’s recent form sucks, which is a source of great amusement to all Gooners.
Spurs are up against Chelsea today; anything but a Chelsea win is desirable.
Arsenal’s record at Old Trafford isn’t great, but now is the time to end that trend. After Evra’s comments about how Arsenal don’t pose a serious threat to Utd, we need to prove to everyone that we can challenge for the title.
1-2 defeat Despite the importance of this game, we think Arsenal may fail to take their chances, although they will probably dominate the match.