Old Trafford jinx might count against the Gunners again
Former Manchester United favourite Paul Scholes has upped the ante ahead of the Red Devils’ FA Cup quarter-final with Arsenal by claiming that the Gunners’ German midfielder Mesut Ozil is just going through the motions with the Londoners.
He blames Ozil’s poor form on a lack of natural leaders at the Emirates Stadium and that’s sure to fire up Wenger’s men ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.
Arsenal have lost defender Gabrial Paulista for a couple of weeks and Jack Wilshere may still be a week away from a return but there is still plenty of strength in-depth at the Emirates.
Theo Walcott has scored three in his last four appearances but may have to settle for a place on the bench again at Old Trafford with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fit again and playing well.
Per Mertesacker, rested at Crystal Palace last week, is Gabrial’s likely replacement alongside Laurent Koscielny at the back. Olivier Giroud, who has seven goals and four assists in 11 previous FA Cup ties, will again spearhead the Arsenal attack with Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez playing just behind the Frenchman.
But this will be a big test for the Gunners as there is little between the sides in terms of league placings and United have dominated recent matches between the teams and let’s not forget, this timeless FA Cup moment of manage from United’s now-assistant-manager way back in 1999!
Arsenal have won just one of the last 15 meetings and have lost on nine of their last 10 visits to Old Trafford. But they won’t have to face their former top scorer Robin van Persie, who is injured, and his replacement, Radamel Falcao, hasn’t pulled up any trees since his loan move from Monaco.
Juan Mata enjoys playing against the Gunners (four goals in five appearances) and this is effectively United’s last chance of silverware this season, though Arsenal are probably also drinking in the last-chance saloon with a two-goal deficit to make up in the Champions League next week.
There is too much attacking talent on display for this to be a dull game and there is also no love lost between the clubs and their fans – there have been four red cards in the last seven FA Cup ties between the sides.
United keep finding enough to win games and may just edge this one at 7/5. Over 2.5 total goals and a United win is 5/2 in the Matchbet + Totals market.
The FA Cup Sixth Round match kicks off at 7.45pm on Monday, March 9 at Old Trafford.