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 MAN UTD VS ARSENAL [PREVIEW]

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PostSubject: MAN UTD VS ARSENAL [PREVIEW]   Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:51 pm

Man Utd defender Jonny Evans may play despite pain from an ankle problem that will eventually require surgery.

Wes Brown is available after coming through a reserve game unscathed but Rio Ferdinand (thigh) is about two or three weeks away from a return.

Arsenal's Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin are likely to return after dropping to the bench against Celtic.

Cesc Fabregas (hamstring) misses out, Aaron Ramsey is a slight doubt but Tomas Rosicky is back in training.



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Manchester United

Suspended: None Doubtful: Evans (ankle)

Injured: Ferdinand (thigh), Hargreaves (knee), Obertan (unspecified), Rafael (shoulder), Van der Sar (hand)

Arsenal

Suspended: None Doubtful: Ramsey (knee)

Injured: Djourou (knee), Fabianski (knee), Fabregas (hamstring), Nasri (leg), Walcott (back)


MATCH PREVIEW
Titles are not won and lost in August but Saturday's match, the 41st between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, should give a tea-time taster of what lies in store for the Premier League's two most successful sides.

We've lost one game already and can't afford to lose another

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
Three months ago the Red Devils comprehensively outplayed the Gunners to reach the Champions League final. Few observers disputed Patrice Evra's boast that it had been "men against boys", save for Wenger, who insisted there was no such gulf between the sides.

The early signs this season appear to vindicate the Frenchman's stubborn streak. While the Gunners are in irresistible form despite the summer sales of Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure, United have struggled without Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.

The Red Devils had a poor record against the other members of the 'Big Four' last season but sealed the title, courtesy of a goalless draw against the Gunners, due to their ruthless form against the rest of the top flight.


606: DEBATE
Have your say on Saturday's match
The loss at Burnley earlier this month suggests they may not be quite so consistent this term, making positive results against title rivals all the more important.

There were encouraging signs in the final half hour at Wigan, where both Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen got off the mark, though the 5-0 win was put into perspective by the Latics' 4-1 thrashing at Blackpool on Wednesday.


MATCH FACTS
Head-to-head

• Arsenal have lost six of their last eight trips to Old Trafford in league and cup. The exceptions were last season's 0-0 draw and a 1-0 win in 2006 when Emmanuel Adebayor got the only goal. Both were Premier League games.

• This will be the 41st time Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have faced each other. Ferguson has seen his side win 15 times, Wenger 14 with 11 draws (two of which were then settled by penalties).

• Man Utd took last year's Premier League title despite winning only one of six league matches against the 'Big Four', 3-0 at home to Chelsea in January.

• Arsenal lost only one of six games against the Premier League's elite in 2008/09, the 4-1 loss to Chelsea in May.

• In four of the last six seasons, the team with the best record against the 'Big Four' have claimed the title.

Manchester United

• The Red Devils had the top flight's best home record last season, winning 16 of 19 games. Liverpool were the only side to win at Old Trafford, with Newcastle and Arsenal both claiming a point.

• Wayne Rooney's header against Wigan took him to 100 goals for Manchester United. It was only his fourth headed goal for the club. The England star has netted 86 times from inside the penalty area and 15 from outside.

• Paul Scholes' next start will be his 500th for the club, while Patrice Evra is set for his 100th league appearance for the Red Devils.

• Victory would be Manchester United's 1,000th home win in the top flight.

Arsenal

• The Gunners have lost just once in the league in 2009 and have suffered only one defeat in 26 league games (4-1 at home to Chelsea on 10 May).

• Arsenal last won their first three Premier League matches in the 2004/05 season, when they won their first five games but eventually finished second to Chelsea.

• Mikael Silvestre made 361 appearances and scored 10 goals for Manchester United. He was sent off in a 4-2 win at Highbury in 2005.


LEADING GOALSCORERS


Man Utd

Rooney: 4 goals (3 league); Nani: 2 goals (1 league)




Arsenal

Gallas: 3 goals (2 league); Fabregas, Diaby: 2 goals (2 league), Eduardo: 2 goals (1 league)


MATCH OFFICIALS
Referee: Mike Dean

Assistant referees: Simon Beck, Richard West

Fourth official: Lee Probert

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