Arsenal vs. Manchester United – England Premier Matchday 22, Emirates Stadium, London England 10 AM EST Sunday, January 22, 2012
By Jason Green, Soccer Handicapper, Predictem.com
Match Odds: Arsenal 2.78 / Manchester United 2.52 / Draw 3.30
Moneyline: Arsenal +178 / Manchester United +152 / Draw +230
Over/Under Total: 2.5 goals
Arsenal has to be chomping at the bit for this HUGE rivalry England Premier League match, as these 2 soccer giants met at the end of August and Manchester United laid a 8-2 beat down on the Gunners. At that time Arsenal was struggling, big time, but they got back on track and are now in 5th place in the league table.
Manchester United is in 2nd place in the league only trailing cross-city rival Manchester City by 3 points. United got over a small rocky patch a couple weeks ago, including a shocking home loss to a likely to be relegated Blackburn, but they won their last EPL match and beat Man City in a big FA Cup match, which was a rematch of last season’s FA Cup semifinals.
Arsenal is 15 points back of Manchester City in the league table so winning the Premier League is very unlikely, but they only trail Chelsea by 4 points for 4th place. The Gunners need to keep winning to get into to the top 4 so they can secure a berth for next season’s Champions League. It is interesting that the 2 leading clubs in the EPL of Man City and Man U are both out of the Champions league while Arsenal advanced to the knockout stage.
Arsenal is not coming into this match with a full head of steam to say the least, as they only have 1 win, 2 losses, and 1 draw in their last 4 league matches. They have only scored 7 goals in their last 5 matches and their defense will be key in this match.
On the season the Gunners have scored 38 goals and given up 31 in league play and Manchester United has played well on both sides of the pitch scoring the 2nd most goals (52) and giving up the 3rd fewest (20).
Arsenal Last 5 Matches:
1/15/2012 Swansea City 3 Arsenal 2 (EPL)
1/9/2012 Arsenal 1 Leeds United 0 (FA Cup)
1/2/2012 Fulham 2 Arsenal 1 (EPL)
12/31/2012 Arsenal 1 Queens Park Rangers 0 (EPL)
1/27/2012 Arsenal 1 Wolverhampton 1 (EPL)
Manchester United Last 5 Matches
1/14/2012 Manchester United 3 Bolton 0 (EPL)
1/8/2012 Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3 (FA Cup)
1/4/2012 Newcastle United 3 Manchester United 0 (EPL)
12/31/2011 Manchester United 2 Blackburn Rovers 3 (EPL)
1/26/2011 Manchester United 5 Wigan 0 (EPL)
In Manchester Unites last 10 matches they have an O/U 2.5-goal record of 7-3 with Arsenal at 5-5 in their last 10 matches.
Wayne Rooney got off to a great start to the season, but while he has played well as of late his scoring touch is a little off. However, Man U still has a slew of guys that can find the back of the net such as Nani, Javier Hernndez, and Dimitar Berbatov and all of these players have 6 goals in the EPL season. Yeah, the Arsenal defense will really have their hands full. Man U will not go scoreless in this match.
Man U mainly has to worry about one player and that is the EPL’s leading scorer in Robin Van Persie, as he has almost half of Arsenal’s goals on the season. The solid Manchester United defense will key on him and Gervinho (4 goals), Thomas Vermaelen (3 goals), Theo Walcott (3 goals), and Mikel Arteta (3 goals) must help him out on offense.
Even though Van Persie will be hounded all match I see him scoring in this match. He had a goal and missed a penalty shot in the 8-2 drubbing earlier this season.
Arsenal G Wojciech Szcz?sny has to play well facing the Man U offense and it will help greatly if the Gunners play solid in the midfield and not let them win the time of possession battle, which they did in the match at the end of August.
Jason’s Pick to Win: Arsenal is not in form and I think that will cost them. Manchester United will play well and take advantage of their scoring chances and while the Gunners will not get shut out they will lose this match by a score of 3-1.