Arsenal Face United Challenge in Bid to Gain Psychological Advantage

(Written on Monday 9th March 2015)

Tonight, Arsenal face Manchester United in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup. Arsenal, the current holders of the prestigious trophy, are currently in good form, winning 3 of their last 4 games. However, their record at Old Trafford is very poor, having not won in the last 10 meetings at United’s ground. United are also in decent form, although they have had to score late goals to force draws and narrow victories.

Arsenal’s record at Old Trafford is somewhat appalling, having drawn 1 of the last 10 games, losing the other 9. Arsene Wenger has said that he doesn’t look at the history, only the game infront of him. Even though the United side is nowhere near what is was a few years ago, the daunting history of bad results adds to Arsenal’s challenge in tonight’s game. The last time the two sides met, Manchester United edged a narrow 2-1 victory in a game which Arsenal surely deserved to win. It could have been the game which proved to critics that they could compete with the big teams, but they failed to take advantage of a weak Manchester United XI.

Both managers are looking forward to the game. Louis Van Gaal believes the winners of tonight’s game will gain the psychological advantage in the “rat race” to finish in the top four. He admits that the stakes are far higher than just reaching the semi-finals. Van Gaal said: “If we beat them it is a big blow for them, but if they beat us it is a big blow for us. Arsenal  and United are third and fourth in the league, so it’s almost like a final.” Many people suspect the talking point will be which of the two big summer signings will shine throughout the monstrous encounter. Alexis Sanchez has settled swimmingly into life in England with 13 goals in 25 games. However, it’s been difficult for Angel Di Maria, with United fans becoming increasingly frustrated due to the lack of quality shown from the £60million man.

The teams could face changes due to the amount of players out due to injury. Robin Van Persie will miss the clash against his former club, as he’s out with an ankle injury. Evans will also have to watch as his antics in the midweek game against Newcastle force him to miss the matchup. Arsenal have many casualties as new signing Gabriel is out due to a hamstring strain. Other injuries include Szcezsny (illness), Monreal (back), Flamini (hamstring), Wilshere (ankle), Arteta (ankle), Diaby (calf) and Debuchy (shoulder).

Arsenal vs United conjures up many famous moments, such as the 1999 Semi-Final replay, with Ryan Giggs’ wonder strike. The 2005 final, the first ever to be decided on a penalty shoot-out, which Arsenal won and also the 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal at Old Trafford a couple of years ago. Hopefully this game creates many more moments to remember.

Reported by Luke

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