by Tom Allen
Both Manchester United and Arsenal were involved in astonishing Capital One
Cup ties in midweek and now the pair clash in the Premier League.
While the majority of those players that featured in Arsenal's 7-5 win at
Reading and Manchester United's 5-4 loss at Chelsea are unlikely to start at Old
Trafford on Saturday, events in Berkshire and West London have certainly whetted
the appetite and surely there will be goals in the lunchtime kick-off.
Arsenal railed from 4-0 down at the Madejski Stadium, Theo Walcott bagging a
hat-trick, but they had struggled badly in three matches prior to that, scoring
just once, and much of their success owed to Reading's wretched defensive
Defeat at Norwich and at home to Schalke in the Champions League, both
without scoring, were worrying reversals for manager Arsene Wenger and he cut a
frustrated figure for 84 minutes of their previous Premier League outing, too.
It took an offside goal from Mikel Arteta to beat Queens Park Rangers late on
at The Emirates Stadium and before events on Tuesday night the Frenchman had
seen his team create virtually nothing in over four hours of football.
Arsenal will take heart from Saturday's opponents own shortcomings at the
back this season, United have conceded 13 goals in just nine top flight matches,
but there is no doubt the Red Devils are flying offensively and now get to
unleash summer signing Robin van Persie on his former club for the first time.
This fixture, famously, finished 8-2 in favour of the hosts last August,
United won the match in North London, 2-1, too, and, while it is a stretch to
think van Persie can inspire a repeat of that score line, I think United will
prevail with something in hand.
In the past 10 meetings between these two sides Sir Alex Ferguson has
masterminded eight wins, tasting defeat just once, and in van Persie now has a
predatory striker to call upon.
The Dutchman's partnership with Wayne Rooney has been developing with each
fixture since the latter returned from injury and United have plundered a mighty
36 goals in 13 matches in all competitions since an opening day defeat at
It is unquestionably the game of the weekend and the early start will
hopefully mean money in the satchel for the remaining fixtures. Backing United
at 7/10 should ensure that's the case.
3pts Back Man Utd (vs. Arsenal) @ 7/10 (Bet