Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tonight's semi-final

Keane v Vieira on the tunnel and the epic 4-2 win that followed. The Van Nistelrooy penalty incident. That Giggs semi-final goal. That Bergkamp peno miss the same game. Arsenal going to Old Trafford to win the league in a men v boys show. United ending Arsenal's unbeaten run at 49. Oh yes, it's fair to say Man Utd and Arsenal have some ground to make up if they're to keep up with the recent history of this tie. Strange - and wonderful - that it is, there's surely a chance of that being the case.

You want football? There'll be that with the two most pleasing on the eye sides in England. Goals? Well, have you seen the United and Arsenal defences recently? They've already hammered out a hell of a game this season, where United went to the Emirates and created 12 clear cut chances but still lost. Arsenal are possibly the form side around right now (even if that theory was knocked on the head a tad by the FA Cup semi-final). United are trying to do something nobody's done since the great Milan side of 1989/90 and hold onto the European Cup. Hey, it's huge and fun and it ought be just lovely to watch.

Darting predictions on possible outcomes seems almost vulgar. Arsenal WILL try to take advantage of a Utd defence that's looked, shall we say, hesitant so don't expect a park-the-bus display from Arsene Wenger's side. It looks like Cesc Fabregas is adapting to a new off-the-striker role and his vision and passing down the sides of defenders will cause problems. If Aaron Lennon can skin Patrice Evra, then so can Theo Walcott, to more potential damage. Adebayor has a decent record of causing United problems. Dangers for Arsenal? A real decision on Samir Nasri as a possible central midfielder that'll either end in tears by being swept aside physically or kudos for moral courage. A defence that redefined shaky last week vs Liverpool. A United side that's had the jump on them in recent times and might, just might, have a huge attacking performance in them.

Much will come down to United's form and mentality we'd imagine. Anderson will likely start in a midfield that'll shoehorn Carrick and Giggs in somewhere as well. Ronaldo and Rooney will start. That leaves one from Berbatov, Tevez and even Park. Jumpthefence is inclined to think Ferguson might try to go for Arsenal's weakest point (their defence) with an attacking 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 rather than a 4-4-2. There's chances and goals in United, even if Arsenal might boss the possession stats.

Jumpthefence wouldn't get carried away with the unfoldings of this. An away goal might not be the big deal it can tend to be. A score draw for Arsenal here might not be the advantage it would seem; United are well capable of scoring and winning at the Emirates. This is a pure 180-minute (more, perhaps?) tie. Hope for fireworks. Expect quality. Even if semi-finals largely disappoint (Barca-Chelsea last night for example), this could be great. We'll go with a score draw to begin.

No comments:

Post a Comment