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United Wary of Arsenal Surge

Arsenal visit Old Trafford for the second time this season

Things don’t get an easier for Manchester United as Arsenal are the visitors to Old Trafford for this quarter final tie in the FA Cup.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking for a strong reaction after his side were thumped 3-1 away at Anfield which was the team’s second defeat in a row following a loss at Chelsea. Ferguson could make a number of changes to his team for the match.

John O’Shea may come into central defence after the pairing of Wes Brown and Chris Smalling fell apart under the pressure applied by Liverpool. O’Shea has a great deal of experience and can play centre half in his sleep so it could be an easy decision for Ferguson to make.

In the midfield United are likely to stick with four across the centre in a 4-4-2 formation. Nani is a serious doubt for the game after the horror tackle from Jamie Carragher over the weekend that was apparently only worthy of a yellow card. If Park Ji-Sung is not fit in time for the game then Ferguson may be forced into asking Wayne Rooney to play down one of the flanks.

Paul Scholes seems match fit once again and should continue in the middle of the team alongside either Michael Carrick, Anderson or Darren Fletcher. Fletcher or Anderson could get the nod because they are more naturally attacking players.

Up front Dimitar Berbatov should lead the attack and Javier Hernandez will join him if Rooney is asked to play a wider role in the team. Berbatov is good enough to carry the attack on his own which would allow United to pack the midfield as a counter against Arsenal’s passing game.

However, this would be a negative way for Ferguson to set his team up on their own ground and he will be looking for a comprehensive performance and win. Rooney will play as Berbatov’s partner in attack if United can find another wide player to replace Nani in time.

Michael Owen, Owen Hargreaves, Nani, Antonio Valencia, Rio Ferdinand, Park Ji-Sung and Nemanja Vidic could all be missing or suspended for the game as the number of players unavailable for United simply goes up and up. However, Ferguson will be hoping that two or three from that list are able to play.

The fact United have a high number of key players out can be countered by the fact Arsenal have a mid-week game against Barcelona. Although United will be missing important players for this tie, the individuals that come in will be fresher than their opponents and this could make the difference in a typical English cup game.

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