How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Arsenal
Manchester United and Arsenal have both been having a tough time of late, even if for different reasons. Arsenal started the season well and gave their fans belief that they could finally win the title again. It's been 10 years since the last time they called themselves champions. But, as many predicted would be the case, they've started to fall off the pace, with both Chelsea and Manchester City looking to take full advantage. The 5-1 battering at Anfield last weekend seemed to signal the beginning of the end for them this season.
United's predicament is much worse, with the current champions of England languishing in seventh position in the league, having dropped more points at home at the weekend, following a late equaliser from Fulham. David Moyes said his side were suffering from "mental softness," which is an insult that could probably be aimed at Arsenal too. But which side will show how tough they can be on Wednesday?
Robin Van Persie Leading the Line
Robin van Persie has played three games against his former club since making the move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2012. He has scored in every game.
Since returning from injury last month, Van Persie has scored in every game he has played in. He's on fire at the moment, as he was last season, but United need to start making his goals count.
The Dutchman is the first name on the teamsheet every week but he will be relied upon all the more for this game. After respectfully refusing to celebrate against Arsenal last season, despite the abusive chants from the fans that used to worship him, Van Persie decided enough was enough and celebrated wildly when scoring the winner in United's 1-0 win over them earlier this season. Van Persie will be up for this and United need him in good form.
Supporting the Striker
As the shambles against Fulham showed though, in what should have been an easy game and a good opportunity for Moyes to experiment, it appears as though Moyes is going to persist in trying to shove our players into a 4-4-2.
Although, following the bad press and fans beginning to lose their patience, maybe Moyes will take a gamble. Is it possible that Moyes will start with more attacking players than just Van Persie, Rooney and Mata?
The Boy Who Can Do Anything
The moment that Adnan Januzaj was subbed on against Fulham, the tempo picked up, and United actually looked like winning for the first time all game.
Would Moyes dare to start with Van Persie up front and Januzaj, Rooney and Mata all behind him, in a 4-2-3-1? It's a huge risk because that has the potential to allow United to get ripped apart defensively, which is something that happens all too frequently without setting up a side with a total attacking focus.
United have a wealth of options up front but in midfield and defensively they are lacking, so maybe it wouldn't be the worst idea to start all of their best players?
Whether United go 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1, chances are that it will be Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher starting in midfield.
It's slim pickings in this area of the pitch but there is the possibility that Moyes will go with Tom Cleverley, so at least there is some pace in the midfield. Fulham found it so easy on the break against United on Sunday, so Cleverley might be able to renew his battle with Jack Wilshere, with the two getting fairly snarly with each other in recent meetings, to give us better cover.
Nemanja Vidic went some way to reassuring United fans that his decision to leave the club at the end of the season was the right one, following his performance on Sunday. Whilst not solely at fault, he could have done better for both Fulham goals.
Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling are probably the most competent and reliable of the central defenders United have available. Full-backs Rafael and Patrice Evra will play either side of them, but both have looked shaky defensively.