On Today evening the biggest clash of the FA Cup quarter-finals takes place at Old Trafford.
Louis Van Gaal’s side host the current cup holders in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. With both sides currently caught in a battle for a Champions League spot it will be interesting to see what the mentality is from both teams heading into this match. Van Gaal would surely love to end his first year in charge with a trophy, while Arsene Wenger will want to repeat last season’s cup victory in order to keep adding trophies to the cabinet after their prior barren spell. The truth is there is never a game between these two sides that isn’t a big occasion, FA Cup or not both men are aware of the importance of a victory over each other, if not just for the confidence of the squad but for the fans as well who see each other as constant rivals. The two sides are also joint top for most FA Cup wins with 11, so the chance to pull away from the others in that regard would also be welcomed by the supporters of either side. Arsenal’s luck at Old Trafford in recent years hasn’t been great to say the least. It has in fact been nearly 9 years since they last managed a victory at the Theatre of Dreams. However, as Wenger’s men proved only a couple of weeks ago, such records are there to be broken after they managed a victory away at the Etihad stadium against United’s blue neighbours. Neither side is likely to take this tie lightly, as such it’s wise to expect a top drawer FA Cup tie between two of the giants left in the competition.
Heading into the FA Cup quarter final clash with Arsenal, United’s only injured personnel is former Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie. Van Gaal will be glad to have midfielder Michael Carrick back at his disposable after the veteran Englishman came on as a late sub against Newcastle midweek. Luke Shaw is a doubt for the tie but has not been ruled out.
Arsenal are set to be without January signing Gabriel, the centre-back suffered a hamstring injury in midweek against QPR. Gabriel is an addition to Arsenal’s injury list joining the likes of Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Flamini, Mikael Arteta, Abou Diaby and Mathieu Debuchy. Polish Goalkeeper Wojiech Szczeny is expected to feature in goal for the Gunners, giving him a chance to try and win his number one spot back from Colombian stopper David Ospina.
This is a hard match to call. Arsenal have looked the more impressive of the two sides in terms of performances (forgetting their Champions League capitulation), but Man United seem to be able to grind out results as of late. Their form of only 2 defeats in their last 22 games is testament to that. United may not look very impressive on the eye and seem to just struggle through games against lesser sides, but they were able to comfortably beat Arsenal when to two sides last met in November. Wenger’s men are unlikely to allow for the same result as they did when the two sides last met. It is a game that can go either way, but I can see Van Gaal’s side managing to once again frustrate Wenger’s men in a match that will look like Arsenal are going to win throughout. Arsenal may have to wait another year before they can beat Man United at Old Trafford.
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