Another big test of the new formation

Arsene has already said the right words regarding the Eduardo controversy – Disgraceful, illogical and unacceptable. So I will just focus on the game tomorrow.

Le boss has said that we have used this formation before in last years champions league semi-finals. He also conceded that it failed miserably then. With big changes on both sides since then, there are reasons for Arsenal fans to be optimistic.

United are without Van der Saar, Ferdinand and Ronaldo. It clearly weakens them. Arsenal had started that game with a back four of Sagna, Toure, Djourou and Gibbs. With the first choice back four available and in great form, it will definitely give us more confidence.

The Red Devils had scored their first on a counter and the second from a Ronaldo free kick. Can they produce a similar performance again? Nani has previously troubled us in an FA cup game. Will he be able to step up? Will Berbatov step up? If we play a 4-3-3, our full backs tend to be exposed more. Nani will definitely be dangerous in that case. Will Arsene change the 4-3-3 to a more defensive 4-5-1 to provide cover to the full backs?

From an Arsenal point of view Arshavin is the key man. Even though he has been relatively quiet so far and the midfield trio is getting all the accolades. I can’t see the likes of Denilson and Diaby opening up a strong United defence. Defensively, the partnership of Vermaelen and Gallas faces the first real challenge in the form of Rooney and Berbatov. I am more worried about Gallas than Vermaelen. He is more likely to make a mistake or be found wanting. So far luck has been with him – he has scored a couple of really freakish goals and avoided getting sent off.

I suspect Arsene will start with the following line up – Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Eboue, Song, Denilson, Diaby, Van Persie, Arshavin. This will leave us a little vulnerable on the left if Diaby continues to drift in and go forward. Bendtner was able to slot in to the left against Celtic but the same cannot be expected of Arshavin. Clichy might stay back a little more to counter this.

All in all this looks like a cracker and it will boil down to a couple of individual moments of magic or mistakes and the tactics of the managers.

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