It is, of course, always a massive game when Arsenal play Manchester United, but with it being the first time the sides have played since our captain left to join them the amount of feeling surrounding this game for Gooners has intensified significantly. This is no bad thing, due to recent performances by Arsenal over the last number of seasons the rivalry had lost its edge and I’ve lost track of the number of Arsenal fans who’ve told me the comfort which they had been feeling around Manchester United fans was disturbing and they are glad that ‘hate’ is back on the table.
I guess we just wish it didn’t have to come around this way eh?
I’ll be at the game tomorrow, my first time with the magnificent away supporters and I’m braced for the chants of ‘She said no’ which will surely ring out. I wish they wouldn’t, it’s an abhorrent chant and one which removes any ability of Arsenal fans to complain about *that* chant the United fans love so very much about Wenger. It was a United chant to begin with, the one about Robin, and we rightly slammed it when they sung it. That some have adopted it, that they think it’s *just banter* [rape is never *just banter*] really disgusts me and hopefully the boos and other chants will far outweigh that one.
It will also be interesting to hear the press’s reaction to the chants tomorrow after staying largely silent for 15 years while United and Sp*rs fans taunted Wenger with claims of being a paedophile. There’s a new, Jimmy Savile one which has also been heard sung by opposition fans and that, at least, got a little bit of a mention in one paper. I guess it helps if you’re topical with your abuse.
I don’t know if van Persie is aware of the depth of feeling regarding his move to United but by 12.46pm tomorrow he will be left in no doubt. He will have heard the reception that Cole, Nasri and Adebayor received and you, Robin, will be on the wrong end of a reception that makes all those ones seem almost loving in comparison.
I was interviewed by Manchester United website Can they score? Ahead of the game, and you can read what I had to say here. I talked about van Persie’s decision to join Manchester United, and the manner in which he did so as the biggest betrayal I’ve experienced in football in my 33 years of watching the game. I stand by that. Along with the rest of the support, I intend to make my anger known tomorrow.
There are some who think we should just forget, maybe they’d prefer us to keep our mouths shut and just wear some tshirts or something, perhaps even that would be too much for them. They are asking the impossible and their inability to understand that confuses me more than anything. Yes. Football players are not like fans, but Robin made out he was. And it’s about more than just going to United, it’s the manner in which he did it. He was our captain. He was supposed to understand.
Gah. It’s far too early for all this.
We go to Old Trafford without Gibbs and Szcsesny who will be the biggest two misses for us. Mannone is simply not capable (although if he was to pull out a Fulham performance tomorrow I’d be eternally grateful) and Santos just doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing back there which is odd because I’m fairly certain he wasn’t this bad last season.
In the middle of the park, however, we have by far the stronger of the midfields who will battle it out. Three little midgets with an abundance of skill, desire and, maybe more importantly at Old Trafford, steel. It’s in there that this game will be won or lost along with who can make the fewest defensive cock-ups.
Then there’s Theo who, tiredness aside, surely did enough to get a start tomorrow. I know he wants to play more centrally, but United’s fullbacks are there to be roasted and with Theo’s form at the minute he’s just the man to do it.
The manner of the win midweek, although using completely different personnel, should have served to lift the entire club. If this Arsenal side can play with the passion that the Capital One Cup side showed in the second half we should come away with the points. There is no danger in going to Old Trafford that we turn up thinking the game is already won, that won’t be an issue tomorrow. Whether we focus completely for the full 90 might.
And that’s really all I have to say about the game. I’ll report back on Sunday but while I’m away all the other writers will be working hard both on here and on the gossip site to bring you the best stories around. Keep an eye out and make them all feel welcome by leaving loads of comments for them.
Let’s do this thing!------------
If you’ve been having problems accessing this site on your work computer using the URLS globalgooners.com and gossip.globalgooners.com should sort that problem for you.
Get your free LadyArse app here for Android, BlackBerry and Windows phone [iPhone coming soon]
Get your free Arsenal wallpaper, Facebook covers and Twitter headers here