But one can’t help but think of it ahead of today’s rematch at the Emirates Stadium, because it was such a memorable match and because you now have to be aware, if not wary, of the possibility of a backlash.
No one likes to be humiliated, and no one likes to lose to a rival. When you combine the two, it’s the ultimate stomach churner. United have been on the other end of the spectrum this season as well, and knowing how to respond and having responded to it, they know how to prepare for today. So, they’ll be ready for whatever Arsenal throw at them, aware of the need to put more distance between one rival and close the distance between another.
1. United were poor in their last league match away from Old Trafford, the 3-0 defeat at Newcastle. But since that setback, United have recorded an away win at City in the FA Cup and a 3-0 home win over Bolton in the league, so they head into today’s match with positive momentum.
United needed to step up after those back-to-back shock defeats to Blackburn and Newcastle, and they did so at City, then followed it up with a solid all-around performance against Bolton. It did take a lot longer than it perhaps should have to put Owen Coyle’s side away, but the result was achieved in the end with minimal fuss and with a goal from Paul Scholes to boot.
2. United come into today second in the league in goals scored with 52, and they’re third in the league in away goals with 19.
3. Just as Arsenal have been strong defensively at home, United have been strong defensively away from home, with the exception of the match at
St. James’ Park Sports Direct Arena. United have allowed only six goals in their 10 away matches, half of those in that defeat. So, it’s no wonder then that United are 7-2-1 away from home this season after defensive struggles contributed greatly to a poor away record last season.
4. Things are far from perfect on the injury front for United, but Phil Jones and Chris Smalling will both be available today after missing the Bolton match. However, Anderson will miss out today after picking up a knock in training. Overall though, it’s not as good as it could be, but it’s not as bad as it has been at some points, so there’s that to be thankful for.
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