January 20, 2012
Greetings and welcome to the first in what I hope will be a long running new feature on the site, Their View, in which I risk my pride and welfare by venturing onto the dark side of the internet – our opponents’ blogs – in order to bring back the thoughts and feelings of our foes ahead of the next match.
To kick things off I spoke to Rob B. writer and editor of the rather good thefaithfulmufc.com to get an idea of how that lot are feeling in the run up to Sunday.
First things first. Confident?
Not entirely. No one knows which MUFC will turn up each game. We go from losing at home to Blackburn one week, to going to City and winning the next. It is thoroughly confusing…were not playing at all consistently, but have bettered our equivalent points total for many many years for this juncture of a season. We’re without Vidic for a whole year, and ultimately that could be the difference between winning trophies or not. The good thing for us is that Arsenal are just as Jekyll and Hyde. After the slump in South Wales, if your team is still licking its wounds and sulking…we could potentially smash them. But I’m sure they’ll be up for United coming to town.
How do you expect Sir Alex to approach the game?
I think Fergie believes he has Wenger’s number tactically now. We know how he likes to set his team up, and the 4-3-3 we put to effect so well a few seasons back in the Champions League semi will probably be used again to counter. It is noticeable that Arsenal have been slightly more direct this year, primarily because of Van Persie’s form, and finally staying injury free for a sustained period of time. Because of our own fitness issues we may set up more like a 4-2-3-1, with Welbeck up top and Rooney in a three behind. Nani has had a poor month by his standards..but he likes the Emirates, so we’re hoping he explodes back into life on Sunday.
In your opinion, who/what should we fear the most?
Antonio Valencia. The boy is bang back on form. United fans have been licking their lips since the Swansea game after we saw the boy Miquel at full back. If he is paired up by Wenger against Valencia in this form…he is dead meat. Also seeing the alleged ‘qualities’ of Mertesacker, everyone is hoping Welbeck is let loose on him. Welbeck has become a star this season. A boy who has become a man. We are confident he will push your central defence to the limit, and allow Rooney the space to raid from deep.
Who in the Arsenal side do you consider the greatest threat?
Well I guess the boring answer is Van Persie. I hope to God he doesn’t join City in the summer, as many in Manchester seem to believe. I also have a healthy fear of Walcott on the right…especially as Evra’s defending has been suspect. I’d be quite happy to see Thierry Henry feature. I have no doubt that either of Ferdinand, Smalling or Evans have the tools to deal with him at his age. But wouldn’t it be typical for him to get a goal against us!
What about villains? Which of the Arsenal players do you most despise?
You know it’s a measure of where you are in the grand scheme of things…but there is no Arsenal player any of us United fans despise at the moment (though that may change after Sunday night!) simply because of the lack of a title threat from yourselves. I respect Van Persie. I do not dislike him at all…he’s a great player. Arshavin was a temporary fav after his early Anfield exploits but that’s all done and dusted. I guess there still is the adverse feeling towards Wenger for Premier Leagues past..but lots of us feel he has taken your club in the wrong direction in the past couple of years..so therefore he is quite popular with us now! Does Martin Keown plan on an Henry style return?…because we hate his guts.
The ref’s Mike Dean. Not a popular choice amongst Gooners. Any fond memories?
I never give any attention to who the ref is…I think most try and do a good job. Only Mark Clattenburg’s ego can be an issue sometimes, as lovely as he thinks his haircut is. We’re never happy to see a Scouser ref any of our matches…but what can you do? All you can hope for is that were not talking about his performance on Monday, rather that the teams.
Finally, while it pains me to do so I can’t fail to mention the last meeting between the clubs. Any chance of a repeat? Or to put it another way: 8-2? Or 8-2 admit it but that was a one time only never to be repeated freak result and we fear retribution?
No chance in hell of a repeat. The United side early in the season had the bit between the teeth, and I think we would have smashed any opponent in England that day. It was a glorious day and a bit of a dream…especially after seeing previous Arsenal successes at our ground. But I do think the psychology of that result may well be a factor on Sunday. The conception is that Arsenal wound and bleed easily and they don’t recover well after adversity. We’re hoping a few of your players replay that day through their heads just before kick off. Because if they do….they will have lost before a ball is even kicked. We need the points if we are to challenge City. We want a win and nothing else.
Big thanks to Rob for an intriguing read. It’s interesting to note that for all the stick he gets around these parts Theo is still a player that opponents fear. Rather less surprising to note that United no longer consider us the threat they once did.
So what do you think? Feel free to respond to Rob in the comments or if you’re that way inclined you can follow him on Twitter where he’s @badgerwolf . It goes without saying but as ever let’s keep things respectful.
If you haven’t checked out today’s post then you’ve missed out on all today’s news and a pointless rant about Tulisa and Milkybars. But fear not, you can catch up here.
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