Tag Archives: Netherlands

How Would Wesley Sneijder Fit In At Tottenham Hotspur?

Sneijder-Spurs

Tottenham could be set for a major coup in the January transfer window after reports in Italy claimed Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder has agreed terms on a move.

Sneijder, who starred for the Netherlands at the 2010 World Cup, has been out of the Inter first-team for almost three-months because of a pay dispute. The Serie A giants apparently want him to take a pay cut, and the Netherlands international is willing to leave the club and move on.

Manchester United came very close to signing him in the summer of 2010, and Inter rejected their advances and £30 million plus offer. With the Dutchman struggling with injuries and his form dipping over the last two years, their failure to cash in is looking like an error of judgement. Even so the playmaker is very talented, and is wanted by many clubs across Europe. At 28, he still has plenty to offer and a new challenge may well be just what he needs to get his career back on track.

Fenerbahce are said to have made an enquiry for the Champions League winner, and the two Manchester clubs (City and United) are also in the race, but the reports in Italy have made Tottenham the favourites if the London club can agree a fee – believed to be around £10-12 million.

There is every chance the Dutchman could be a huge success and a right fit at White Hart Lane. Sneijder’s best postion is as an attacking midfielder just behind the striker and Spurs could well be the club to make it work for him.

Andre Villas-Boas’ preferred formation of 4-2-3-1 would see him fit straight into the line-up. With Aaron Lennon on the right and Gareth Bale on the left, the void Rafael van der Vaart vacated for a central attacking midfielder role would be ideal for him. So far, new signings Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey have attempted to fill it but have not been very impressive. With the midfield platform of Mousa Dembele and Sandro behind him, Sneijder would have ample of time and space to dictate games.

So, if the opportunity to bring the former Ajax and Real Madrid star to White Hart Lane crops up, as it has, then Tottenham should grab it with both hands.

The two big issues Spurs will face in trying to secure his signature is the present lack of Champions League football and his huge wage demands. But the Dutchman sees Tottenham as club on the rise and if Spurs can satisfy Emmanuel Adebayor’s demands – who was earning almost the same at City as Sneijder is doing at Inter – then why not Sneijder’s. With Daniel Levy at the negotiating table the fans can remain optimistic about and can be sure that they won’t pay over the odds for the midfielder.

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Can Van Persie Follow In The Footsteps Of Cantona At United?

Eric-Cantona

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson recently compared Dutch striker Robin van Persie with United legend Eric Cantona.

Ferguson told Eurosport-Yahoo:

“He has a similar profile to Eric in terms of age and maturity. He came from one big club to another big club and he is an established international. All these things in his profile suited us perfectly.”

Van Persie has carried his outstanding form from Arsenal to his new club who are currently at the top of the Premier League table with a six-point lead over rivals Manchester City. Whilst, he has scored 15 goals already this season in all competitions, the £24 million summer signing is still someway away from achieving the success of Cantona. But the Dutchman looks likely to give it his best shot. He is only 10 goals off Cantona’s tally for his first full season at United back in 1993/94. The Red Devils won the league that season, along with the FA Cup and the Frenchman was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

Cantona was 27 when he signed for the Old Trafford club from their fierce rivals, Leeds United for a fee of £1.2 million, but, at that time, it was considered a marquee signing by Ferguson. In his 5 years at the club, Cantona won four Premier League titles and two FA Cups. Van Persie signed a four-year contract with club this summer, he will be around 33 upon its expiry and well into the twilight of his career. For him to follow in the footsteps of Cantona, United would have to win the next four successive league campaigns – including the current one – and two FA Cups but for that Van Persie will have to remain fit.

Last season at Arsenal the Dutchman almost doubled the United legend’s best goal-tally in a season and he looks set to repeat it this term for United. There are some questions whether he can keep up with the pace and power of the Premier League as he enters his thirties, but there are no doubts that he has the class and quality to be a top performer for the remainder of his contract.

One thing Van Persie will never be able to emulate is the impact Cantona had, not only on Manchester United, but also on the Premier League and the world of football. The boldness and charisma of ‘King Eric’ is unmatched in football today and perhaps we may not see another Cantona for a very long time.

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 17

Benteke-Totw

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting seventeenth gameweek in the Premier League. Aston Villa, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur provide two players each, while there is one each from Arsenal, Manchester City, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City.

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)

The French international is making the most of his chances to show Andre Villas-Boas what he can do after putting in a commanding display in goal in Spurs’ 1-0 win over Swansea on Sunday. Lloris kept a clean and made some brave clearances with the highlight being when he came off the line to punch away a dangerous cross and deny Michu a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa)

Not too many full-backs have made Liverpool’s rising star Raheem Sterling look terrible this season, but Lowton certainly achieved the feat on Saturday. Sterling looked completely out of ideas as the Reds slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Anfield and the former Sheffield United man can take great comfort in knowing it was his positioning and reading of the game which made the pacey winger so ineffective.

Ashley Williams (Swansea City)

The Swans may have been on the end of a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane but Williams gave everything for the Welsh side, proving a rock solid presence at the back. A brave performance from the centre-half saw him make several key clearances and blocks as Spurs were denied a way through up until their late breakthrough from a set-piece.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

Though he has played most of this season at left-back, the Belgian international earned a rare start in the centre of defence at the weekend, and his manager was rewarded for this decision, with Tottenham looking solid for the most part at the back. As a bonus, Vertonghen also popped up to score the winner, as he elegantly volleyed home Kyle Walker’s free-kick.

Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

Toure was the star when City played at St. James’ Park last season and he was the star again on the weekend as he ran the show in the middle of the park for City as they defeated Newcastle 3-1. The Ivorian’s pinpoint pass set up Sergio Aguero perfectly for the opener, while he added a goal of his own late on to put the seal on both City’s win and an impressive individual display.

Ashley Young (Manchester United)

Following their dramatic derby win, the Red Devils were in the mood against Sunderland on Saturday. Central to Saturday’s 3-1 win was former Aston Villa winger Ashley Young who had a hand in two of the three goals United scored that day. His best was obviously the assist for Robin van Persie’s opener, but he was definitely a handful all afternoon for the Black Cats’ defence.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

The Gunners hit back at their critics after their embarrassing League Cup defeat to Bradford in the midweek, with an assured 5-2 victory over Reading which was inspired by Cazorla’s hat-trick. The little Spaniard has been impressive all season and he did early damage in the first half when he scored two goals in as many minutes then followed up his heroics on the hour mark to seal his first triple in an Arsenal shirt.

Adel Taarabt (Queens Park Rangers)

QPR manager Harry Redknapp handed Taarabt a more advanced role against Fulham at the Loftus Road on Saturday and it worked a treat. Played just in behind the striker, the Moroccan international excelled and hit the Cottagers for two goals as the R’s emerged from the contest as 2-1 winners – their first win of the season after 17 attempts.

Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City)

Pilkington put in another stand-out performance for the Canaries against Wigan as he and fellow forward Wes Hoolahan continue to shine for the in-form club. A brilliantly-taken goal was the crowning moment of the Englishman’s afternoon, while his cross also set up Hoolahan for the second of the 2-1 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

12 goals in your first 17 Premier League games for a new club seems like a reasonable return doesn’t it? Even if you do have a £24 million price tag on your head. In United’s victory over Sunderland the Dutchman was instrumental, capitalising on John O’Shea’s mistake to score the opening goal. And in an ominous sign for Premier League defences everywhere, he again linked up with Wayne Rooney to secure a third.

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)

Benteke has been one of the signings of the season and was influential to Villa’s surprise win at Liverpool, producing a star turn for the Midlanders as he netted a double, dealing a blow to Darren Bent’s hopes of ending his stint on the bench. The Belgian also provided the assist for Andreas Weimann’s strike with an audacious backheel.

TOTW GW 17

Top Ten Best-Paid Managers In The World

best-paid managers

Brazilian sports business consultants – Pluri Consultoria – have this week published online a list of the best-paid football managers in the world, by annual salary.

There is no surprise who heads the pack but there are some interesting names on the list. Here at IntoTheTopCorner, we have a look at the top ten managers from that rich list…

10. ROBERTO MANCINI (MANCHESTER CITY | €5.9 MILLION)

Roberto-Mancini

When you are managing a club owned by oil-rich owners you are expected to be earning a huge annual salary and it’s no surprise to see the current Manchester City manager on the list, perhaps that he is tenth on the list is a bit surprising. The former Inter and Lazio boss has won the FA Cup and the Premier League during his time at Eastlands and is at the helm of Europe’s few undefeated teams in the league this season.

9. JOSE CAMACHO (CHINA | €5.9 MILLION)

Jose-Camacho

In order to catch up with the Asian heavyweights like Japan and South Korea, the rich Chinese FA searched in many parts of Europe – mainly the Netherlands, Germany and Spain – for an experienced coach, and appointed Jose Camacho. The former Spain and Real Madrid coach was given the job with objective of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Despite his huge annual paycheck the Spaniard failed and is now preparing for next year’s Asian Cup.

8. TITO VILANOVA (BARCELONA | €7 MILLION)

Tito-Vilanova

Taking over at Barcelona is not an easy job especially from the club’s most successful manager in history – Pep Guardiola. However, the former assistant is justifying his millions in his first top-flight job and currently has a win rate of 86%, which is more than his predecessor. The Catalan giants are 11 points clear of Real Madrid in the league and through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

7. FABIO CAPELLO (RUSSIA | €7.8 MILLION)

Fabio-Capello

A CV boasting of five Serie A titles, one Champions League and two La Liga titles, it’s no surprise that the Italian is the best-paid international manager in the world during his current tenure as Russia coach. His current salary is a slight increase than what he earned during his time as England coach, where his contributions were a bit disappointing. However, the Russians under Capello are undefeated with five win in seven games and are at the top of their World Cup qualifying group.

6. GUUS HIDDINK (ANZHI MAKHACHKALA | €8.3 MILLION)

Guus-Hiddink

Like Capello, the Dutchman has also enjoed a long and successful managerial career at club and international level. After failing to qualify for Euro 2012 in Poland & Ukraine with Turkey, Hiddink joined the Russian moneybags earlier this year. With Anzhi second in the Russian Premier League, the former Chelsea boss has announced that his current annual paycheck will be the last one as he will be retiring at the end of the season.

5. ARSENE WENGER (ARSENAL | €9.3 MILLION)

Arsene-Wenger

With his intelligent spending, innovative training techniques and brilliant ability to develop youngsters, the Frenchman might be the cleverest manager in the game and he gets very well paid for that. Wenger has delivered three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and 15 consecutive seasons of Champions League football since taking over at Arsenal in 1996. Yet his willingness to sell Arsenal’s best players has been identified as a major flaw by the fans. With the Gunners virtually out of the title race, Wenger’s days may be numbered if his team fails to finish in the top four.

4. SIR ALEX FERGUSON (MANCHESTER UNITED | €9.4 MILLION)

Sir-Alex-Ferguson

The Scot has been at the same job – Manchester United – for over 25 years, which makes his annual salary seem relatively modest compared to ones above him in the list. The Red Devils were in deep trouble when he took over and has made them one of most successful teams in the world by winning 12 league titles, two Champions Leagues, five FA Cups and four League Cups. This season, Sir Alex’s side remain on course for yet another league title and have also reached the last-16 of the Champions League.

3. MARCELLO LIPPI (GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE | €10 MILLION)

Marcello-Lippi

A manager whose resume boasts a World Cup, five Serie A titles and a Champions  League is expected to earn an annual salary in double figures. The former Italy coach joined the Chinese Super League champions in May this year on a two-and-a-half year contract worth up to €30 million. So far, Lippi has fulfilled the club’s expectations by guiding them to their second consecutive league title in October and also by winning the Chinese FA Cup in November for the first time evert in the club’s history.

2. CARLO ANCELOTTI (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN | €13.5 MILLION)

Carlo-Ancelotti

The Italian proved that getting sacked at Chelsea doesn’t put a dent to your managerial career when he signing a multi-million Euro deal to take over at Qatar-funded PSG last year. He took charge when the French side were at the top of the league, but failed to guide them to the title. Despite spending heavily during the transfer windows, he has yet to bring any silverware to the Paresians. However, the former Milan boss could turn things around this season, as PSG are third in the league – five points behind Lyon – and are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

1, JOSE MOURINHO (REAL MADRID | €15.3 MILLION)

Jose-Mourinho

The Portuguese takes home the largest amount each year and it is hardly surprising given his extraordinary record since guiding Porto to an historic treble in 2003. The Special One has won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain and has also won the Champions League with Porto and Inter. However, things aren’t going well for him in the current campaign, with Los Blancos 11 points behind leaders Barcelona. Such a margin is a bit too much in the La Liga and if Mou fails to bring the Champions League to the Bernabeu, he might get his marching orders at the end of the season.

Here are the remaining twenty managers from the 30-man rich list..

11. Frank Rijkaard (Saudi Arabia | €5.3 Million)
12. Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich | €5.2 Million)
13. Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham Hotspur | €4.5 Million)
14. Harry Redknapp (Queens Park Rangers | €4 Million)
15. Jorge Jesus (Benfica | €4 Million)
16. David Moyes (Everton | €3.6 Million)
17. Manuel Pellegrini (Malaga | €3.6 Million)
18. Paulo Autuori (Qatar | €3.6 Million)
19. Abel Braga (Fluminense | €3.5 Million)
20. Luciano Spaletti (Zenit St Petersburg | €3.3 Million)
21. Antonio Conte (Juventus | €3 Million)
22. Cesare Prandelli (Italy | €3 Million)
23. Luxemburgo (Gremio | €3 Million)
24. Muricy (Santos | €3 Million)
25. Tite (Corinthians | €3 Million)
26. Ottmar Hitzfeld (Switzerland | €2.6 Million)
27. Joachim Low (Germany | €2.5 Million)
28. Marcelo Biesla (Athletic Bilbao | €2.5 Million)
29. Martin O’Neill (Sunderland | €2.5 Million)
30. Roy Hodgson (England | €2.5 Million)

Joey Barton Talks In Hilarious French Accent During Post-Match Press Conference (Video)

Speaking after making his Ligue 1 debut for Marseille in the 1-0 win over Lille on Sunday, QPR’s Joey Barton addresses the post-match press conferenceusing a hilarious french accent. 

The former Manchester City and Newcastle midfielder’s interview is similar to Steve McClaren’s infamours Dutch news conference when he was the manager of Eredivisie side FC Twente in 2008. Barton later defended his accent on his twitter account, after receiving criticism from his followers. He wrote:

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 10

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting tenth weekend in the Premier League. Manchester United and Norwich City have provided two players each, while there is one each from Reading, West Ham, Aston Villa, Swansea, Everton, Liverpool and West Brom.

Alex McCarthy (Reading)

The Royals may still be looking for their first win of the season, but the 22-year-old put in another inspired display for his team in the 1-1 draw against QPR at Loftus Road. He first excellently tipped Esteban Granero’s free-kick onto the crossbar and then produced another inch-perfect save to deny Adel Taarabt in the closing.

Steven Whittaker (Norwich City)

Making your debut in the Premier League is not at all easy, even for a seasoned professional like the former Rangers man – who was handed his Norwich City debut against Stoke on Saturday.  Whittaker was very impressive at the back, especially his crossing as the Canaries picked another welcomed win and kept a clean sheet.

James Collins (West Ham United)

Manchester City started with Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli at Upton Park and then introduced Sergio Aguero in the second half, but they couldn’t find a way through the West Ham defence. Collins, alongside Winston Reid, marshaled the Hammers’ back four brilliantly and restricted the reigning Premier League champions to a number of half-chances.

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa)

Clark provided the defensive foundation for his side to build an important 1-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday. On the one-occasion when Clark was stretched defensively, the centre-back recovered excellently to block Sunderland’s Stephane Sessegnon from scoring an almost certain goal.

Patrice Evra (Manchester United)

The Manchester United left-back has had a lot criticism recently, but it was all-smiles for the Frenchman during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Arsenal. The defender was hardly troubled by the Gunners, who didn’t at all have pace in their attack. He also scored United’s second goal, which turned out to be the winner with Arsenal scoring with the last kick of the ball.

Pablo Hernandez (Swansea City)

The Spaniard was at the heart of Swansea’s attacking threat, constantly probing with intelligent passing and movement. Hernandez created a host of Swansea chances before taking it upon himself to net the equaliser with just two minutes left on the clock, following a well-taken finish from the edge of the box.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

Everton will feel as though they should have left Fulham with all three points on Saturday, with David Moyes’ side dominating at Craven Cottage. A 2-2 draw, however, keeps them in the top four and Fellaini has been an influential figure for them this season. He bagged a brace at Fulham over the weekend to take his tally to five goals in nine matches.

Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City)

The Norwich City playmaker has always had the talent to play at the top level, but his inconsistency has often been the problem. However, against Stoke he was near to his best, pulling the strings as he drifted effortlessly from one side of the pitch to the other.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

The Uruguayan striker scored one of the goals of the season as he dug Brendan Rodgers’ side out of another hole. Full of craft and skill, Suarez appeared unplayable at times, and will haunt the Magpies skipper Fabricio Coloccini after his trickery tempted him into a clumsy challenge, which resulted in a red card for his fellow South American.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

Van Persie took just three minutes to remind Arsene Wenger why his absence is a massive blow to Arsenal’s lofty ambitions this season, when he capitalised on an uncharacteristic error by Thomas Vermaelen to give United the lead. His clever movement and constant attacking intent caused the visitors endless problems at the back.

Peter Odemwingie (West Brom Albion)

Odemwingie was the star of the show on Monday night as West Brom defeated rock-bottom Southampton 2-0 at the Hawthorns, with the Nigerian international striker grabbing a deadly double to pile pressure on Nigel Adkins’ side.

Manchester United v Arsenal Preview

Manchester United’s blockbuster summer signing Robin van Persie takes centre stage on Saturday as the former Arsenal skipper comes up against his old employers for the first time in an United shirt.

The Dutch international, who scored 132 times during his seven years with the Gunners before departing in a £24million deal this summer, has already made an impact at Old Trafford. Van Persie already has seven goals to his name from just seven Premier League starts to show why Sir Alex Ferguson was so happy to land his signature despite competition from Manchester City and Juventus. The striker’s priceless ability to win games on his own will be sorely missed by the fans who once idolised him, and even though Arsene Wenger has called for respect from the travelling fans, the hostility is likely to come out from the away section.

Arsenal also need to banish the memories of last season’s Premier League visit to Old Trafford in August, when they suffered an 8-2 humiliation in what ranks as one of Wenger’s darkest days in his otherwise successful career.

The London club are six points behind United and while it will be to immature to write them off their title ambitions in November, a nine-point gap would be a significant deficit to bridge. On the other hand, victory for Ferguson’s men would take them at the top of the table for the first time this season as Chelsea are not in action until later in day when they travel to Swansea.

TEAM NEWS

Manchester United

The Red Devils have no fresh injury issues following their two dramatic matches against Chelsea over the past week. Defender Chris Smalling continues to make good progress in training, but the game at Old Trafford will come too soon. Fellow centre-back Phil Jones (knee) is also not ready, while Nemanja Vidic and midfielder Shinji Kagawa (both knee) remain sidelined. Sir Alex Ferguson made a host of changes for the Capital One Cup clash and will bring back his big players for the big Premier League encounter.

Arsenal

The Gunners will go back to a more recognized team after changing their entire starting XI for the surprising Capitol One Cup success at Reading. Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna are in contention, but Theo Walcott may be back on the bench after playing whole 120 minutes at the Madjeski. Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hip) faces a fitness test, but winger Gervinho (ankle) will be out for around three weeks, while defender Kieran Gibbs (thigh), first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (ankle), midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) and Czech winger Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) all continue their rehab.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 193
Manchester United Wins – 84
Draw – 42
Arsenal Wins – 67

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

22-Jan-12 – Premier League – Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United
28-Aug-11 – Premier League – Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal
01-May-11 – Premier League – Arsenal 1-0 Manchester United
12-Mar-11 – FA Cup – Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal
13-Apr-10 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal

FORM GUIDE

Manchester United – LWWWW
United come into this match on the back of a very important win at Stamford Bridge in the league and are currently just one point behind leaders Chelsea in second place.

31-Oct-12 – Captial One Cup – Chelsea 5-4 Manchester United
28-Oct-12 – Premier League – Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United
23-Oct-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 3-2 Braga
20-Oct-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 4-2 Stoke City
06-Oct-12 – Premier League – Newcastle United 0-3 Manchester United

Arsenal – WWLLW
The Gunners lie in sixth place in the Premier League, six points behind their opponents having won four, drawn three and lost two of their nine games.

30-Oct-12 – Capital One Cup – Reading 5-7 Arsenal
27-Oct-12 – Premier League – Arsenal 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
24-Oct-12 – Champions League – Arsenal 0-2 Schalke 04
20-Oct-12 – Premier League – Norwich City 1-0 Arsenal
06-Oct-12 – Premier League – West Ham United 1-3 Arsenal

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
All eyes will be on the former Arsenal man on Saturday. The 29-year-old has added an extra dimension to United’s attack this season, and is the club’s top goal scorer with nine goals in all competitions. The Netherlands international will be keen to show his former club what they lost. However, he will show some respect to the club he represented for seven years but most Arsenal fans won’t feel the same.

Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
The 23-year-old has been in headlines this week, for reasons on and off the pitch. Contract talks are stalling because the England international isn’t happy with his lack of playing time, but after scoring a hat-trick against Reading in midweek he is making it very hard for Arsene Wenger to leave him out. Walcott on song is a great attacking player and added to the likes Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Jack Wilshere, they could easily stun the Red Devils.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra (C); Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley; Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young; Robin van Persie.

De Gea is most likely to take back his place in between the sticks from Anders Lindegaard after the Danish international let in five goals against Chelsea in the mid-week. Ferdinand and Evans will return to central defence after the youngsters – Scott Wootton and Michael Keane – failed to stand up to the challenge at Stamford Bridge. Alexander Buttner, who was substituted at half time, will also make way for Evra. Carrick and Cleverley are expected to return in the midfield along with Valencia and Young on the wings. Rooney and Van Persie were rested for midweek clash and the star strike duo will take field against an under-performing Arsenal defence.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Vito Mannone; Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen (C), Andre Santos; Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta; Theo Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski; Olivier Giroud.

First choice keeper Wojciech Szcesny is close to recovery but the Pole is not fit to make a start against the Red Devils, leaving Mannone as the only option for Wenger. Kieran Gibbs is also out with injury, giving Brazilian full-back Andre Santos more first team action this season. After his hat-trick in the mid-week against Reading, Theo Walcott may get the nod on the right wing in place of Aaron Ramsey, while both Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh are expected to be back on the bench after their impressive performances in the Capital One Cup. Giroud did score against Reading but his league record has been very poor but Wenger will most likely rely on the Frenchman yet again.

OPTA FACTS

  • 1 – Wayne Rooney scored his first Premier League goal, his first in the Premier League for Manchester United and his 100th Premier League goal against Arsenal.
  • 1 – Only one of Arsenal’s 14 league goals this season have come before the half-hour mark.
  • 5 – Manchester United have scored and conceded at least two goals in the same Premier League game five times this season.
  • 7 – Manchester United have won seven and lost none of their last eight against Arsenal at Old Trafford in all competitions.
  • 9 – Manchester United have won nine of their last 10 meetings with the Gunners in all competitions.
  • 10 – Arsenal have scored just 10 goals in 20 Premier League visits to Old Trafford, with last season (8-2 defeat) being the only time they have netted two in one game.
  • 21 – Robin van Persie has hit the woodwork 21 times since August 2009, nine more times than any other Premier League player in the same period.

REFEREE

Name – Mike Dean
Based – Wirral
Age – 44
Games – 6
Yellow Cards – 15
Red Cards – 0

MATCH ODDS

Manchester United 8/11, Draw 13/5, Arsenal 4/1

PREDICTION

It’s been an incredibly entertaining goal-filled week in which both sides conceded five goals in the Capital One Cup. This fixture last season delivered an equally ridiculous scoreline when Manchester United ran out 8-2 winners. Arsenal’s failure to score in league games this season and having to see Robin van Persie play against them will surely make matters worse for the North London side. The game is expected to be another entertaining one for the neutrals, but Sir Alex’s side should have too much for the Gunners in this one.

Predicted Score: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal