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Arsenal v Man Utd: Preview

We kick off today’s preview with a brief word on David Gill’s interview with BBC Sport [read it in full, here]

In the interview he talks Rooney, Ferguson, the ownership, the transfer funds, among other things, and it’s unlikely we’re bound to know something earth-shatteringly new. Such it goes.

“Unless Alex agreed to it, we would not accept an offer, regardless of the value, for a player we want to keep,” is what he said about Rooney and the rumours swirling around about his sale.

Rooney himself was on record saying he won’t be leaving United. And I, for one, believe him. I’ve seen past interviews of the lad, and he’s said stuff to the effect of, “can you really see me play anywhere outside England?” And the only way I can every see Rooney leave is if the board forced Ferguson’s hand.

He spoke about how the £500m debts are a misconception and stressed that the Glazers were in this for the long run. However the example he cited was a bad one:

“They will only get value back by ensuring the team continues to be successful, continues to attract exciting players and continues to produce results off the pitch. The Glazer family bought (American football team) the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995 and 15 years later, they still own that – they are in it for the long-term.”

Just google Tampa Bay Buccaneers finances or something to that effect, and you’ll see what kind of hell their fans are going through.

Anyway, moving on to more pressing matters, there’s a match today against Arsenal and the most significant result last week was Arsenal’s draw at Villa Park. This gives us the chance to go four points over the gunners, and close our gap on league leaders, Chelsea. Chelsea, who went top thanks to a header from “his mate’s” wife-shagger and England’s Brave, John Terry. I am not wasting inches going into the wheres and whys he shouldn’t carry on as England captain, but you’d have thought the book of reasons to hate John Terry was already full by now when, all of a sudden, you now have enough scope for a sequel.

A reasonable article to lead this off should be the one by Amy Lawrence of the Guardian — a well known Arsenal fan — who highlights the main stars of this clash: Fabregas (who’s still only 22!) and Rooney (who’s 24, although I’d have thought he was younger) Of course, it does resort a bit towards cliches we’ve become all too familiar with; Fabregas and Fergie — ‘pizzagate’, Rooney and Wenger — the number of times he’s dominated Arsenal.

Still, read it as you attempt to whet your appetite ahead of the match.

A quickie — read this piece where Keith Harris, a takeover-broker and a United fan, says he’s been approached by several rich United fan investors. I’ll try to write up something detailed on this later on, but do read it if you have the time.

Regarding the starting XI, I’m convinced Ferguson will opt for a 4-5-1 formation — one that he has employed with much success recently. But it will no doubt, isolate Rooney up front. Nani should undoubtedly start, but he’ll be on the left while Valencia will start on the right. Fletcher, Carrick and one of either Anderson or Scholes will be the third mid fielder.

Vidic is reported to replace Ferdinand, who’ll begin the first of a ridiculous four-match suspension.

Arsenal have their share of injuries. Vermaelen was the latest casualty, in mid week. Which means, Sol Campbell could make a start, and hopefully Rooney will take full advantage of that.

Cesc Fabregas was on record as saying this is the biggest game of the season for him, and fair play to him. It’s a pretty important match for both sides in a statement-of-intent sort of way, although not necessarily a deal breaker as far as the title race goes.

Anyway, onto the predictions: 2-1 to United, I guess. Hopefully this proves to be yet another cracking game of football.

[Off I go to watch Federer play Murray and hopefully win yet another grand slam.]



  1. Karl

    February 1, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Before I start reading from the top the long list of comments, I just want to state…Well done Fergie. Yesterday’s game was very entertaining. It once again proved to me that we CAN play entertaining AND win. I enjoyed the game and I hope there will be a few more to come. Should it happen, win or lose, I will stop criticising for the rest of the season.

  2. Scotjimland

    February 1, 2010 at 9:12 am

    @CraigMc: I Was referring to the next game to watch and hope.Hull v Chelscum, you gotta keep an eye on your enemies. :mrgreen:

  3. Ober-fuckin-tan

    February 1, 2010 at 9:41 am

    So Rooney has now surpassed Ronaldo’s goals and is now 2 shy of Andy Cole’s, take a bow Son.

  4. Red Ranter

    February 1, 2010 at 9:43 am

    OK. Match report’s up. Head over to the new page for it. And of course, continue discussion there.

  5. CraigMc

    February 1, 2010 at 10:30 am

    @Scotjimland: Oh right – gotcha 😆 😆 .

  6. CraigMc

    February 1, 2010 at 10:31 am

    @Karl: But will you keep praying that Tevez scores hat tricks against our team Karl? 🙄

  7. Jay wire

    February 1, 2010 at 10:33 am

    @Grognard: Nani in my opinion has always been that good. The difference is he is now getting a more decent run in the team in his favoured position as you pointed out. The only thing that is surprising me is the way everyone else is now jumping on the Nani wagon,when just a couple of weeks ago they were bashng him left right and centre. But to be honest I’m not really surprised.

  8. Red Ranter

    February 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Move on to the new post. You can respond from there too… just loads the page faster that way. Cheers.

  9. CraigMc

    February 1, 2010 at 10:45 am

    @Grognard: No it doesn’t Groggy, Lil man should still go because he has long suffered with derision of unappreciative fans and SAF’s leper-land. Sorry! I think he has proved he has the artillary, but United fans NEVER gave the lad any love or encouragemment and neither did SAF until the last couple of months. If SAF and the fans had have done, we would have seen the best of the lad. I still think he will do a Tev!

  10. CraigMc

    February 1, 2010 at 10:48 am

    @EduardoDaVinci4: 😆 😆 😆 – well done Eddie!

  11. Grognard

    February 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    @Jay wire: The thing with Nani has always been about maturity. Too much pressure was placed on this shy and introverted lad to mature at the same rate as players like Rooney and Ronaldo. It doesn’t work like that. Some players mature at a normal rate and others are late bloomers. At 23, I’d say Nani has been maturing at a normal rate but has had incredible undue pressure placed upon him by the fans, the club and even Ferguson.

    I also think that the reason he is playing right now is that he has realized himself that it is do or die time. It’s not just about making it with the club, if he was to leave, who worthwhile would buy him? So he has awoken from his slumber, he has moved over to his favored right side and he has upped his aggressiveness and tempo to become a more complete winger. If he continues to apply himself like this, his confidence will soar and he will become in a short period of time one of the most feared wingers in the world because frankly, he has always had the talent. Now along with that talent seems to come more desire, more maturity and the departure of his 10 cent way of thinking. I’m pulling for the lad, as I have never wanted him to leave if he could truly up his game to a level I knew he was capable of.

  12. Grognard

    February 1, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    @CraigMc: Sorry mate, for a guy in Canada, I think I am more RED than you because for me the team always comes first, then the player. I want United to do well and to accomplish that, it’s important for us to keep Nani, regardless of past history. I am happy for Nani but I am elated for United because it feels like they spent 30 million on a David Silva with his resurgence. Why would I or any other Red Devil fan want to give that up. I’d check you allegiance mate. Seriously, loving Nani and his personal interests more than United’s, not kosher one bit mate. Nani belongs with the Red Devils and all that has happen is in the past. We can now move forward and look forward to the lad making his name and elevating United’s game with his on field presence. He may do a Tev but the fact is, he likes it here more than Tev and all he ever really wanted was a chance. He finally has gotten that chance and a shy boy like himself is not one for new strange adventures. He’s staying put.

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