Tonight sees the showcase tie of the FA Cup weekend as Arsenal travel to Manchester United in the Quarter Finals.
In terms of Premier League performance, Arsenal sit in 3rd place on 58 points, a solitary point ahead of Manchester United who sit in fourth.
Arsenal have had an up and down season, but have managed to win 5 of their last 6 Premier League games (losing the other), while Manchester United have won 4 of their last 6, drawing one and losing the other. So in terms of domestic form, it’s hard to separate the two sides.
How about history?
Unfortunately this is where Arsenal falter badly and it’s because of this I am very worried about tonight. In the last 15 meetings between the teams, our record is:
Won 1, Drawn 3 and Lost 11.
That record is an absolute disgrace!
Last season, we faced the worst Manchester United side in living memory who were completely shot of confidence under David Moyes. Arsenal on the other hand were riding high, top in fact, of the Premier League table and still managed to lose 1-0. It wasn’t an embarrassing scoreline by any stretch of the imagination (especially compared to previous seasons) but losing to an awful team like that was shameful.
And if you look at our record at Old Trafford, it’s even worse! If that’s at all possible…
The last time we won a match at Old Trafford was on Sunday 17th September 2006, when Emmanuel Adebayor scored from a Cesc Fabregas assist. If you click on the link, you’ll see that it was so long ago that the BBC Sport website was still in a basic format!
So what’s the problem? The problem is that Arsene Wenger and the players just end up bottling it against Manchester United. It doesn’t matter if they’re a team in disarray, or that they have an idiot managing them, we see the name Manchester United and go weak at the knees. We’re scared of their history, and scared of their stature in English football it seems.
I can’t understand why we are so terrible against them. In the home league game this season we tried our very best not to score any of our chances (remind you of the Monaco game?) and United scored on the break. Some people can call is naive, but against Manchester United we just freeze.
Manchester United were lucky against Newcastle last week and unfortunately, I can see that luck being on show tonight. Another problem we have is the game is at Old Trafford – the home of cheating. We saw it when Shrek “won” a penalty against Sol Campbell in that monumental 50th game of our unbeaten run and I’ve seen countless decisions given against us which still baffle me today.
Don’t be surprised if Arsenal go out there tonight, show Manchester United “too much respect”, fail to score the opening goal and then concede a stupid penalty or give them a sitter from a defensive mistake.
Some of you might call me a pessimist for thinking that a loss tonight is a forgone conclusion, but the fact is I’m just a realist.
Prediction for tonight is a 3-1 win for Manchester United, after missing about 3 or 4 very presentable chances (most likely squandered by Olivier Giroud).