For the neutral football fan, the Arsenal-Manchester United promises to be a tale of missing star names and incomplete glamour as a series of big names, particularly United first team players getting injured on international duty, have left Louis van Gaal’s side in a precarious situation when they take on Arsene Wenger’s side in their own backyard on Saturday evening. A second string side, already ravaged by defensive injuries, having as many as five injuries slapped on them by the international break, away at the Emirates, is a classic case of lambs to the slaughter. Angel Di Maria and Luke Shaw added to van Gaal’s injury misery as both are now doubts for the big clash against the Gunners. Radamel Falcao has been continuing his recovery and should be fit enough to make the bench on Saturday.
Let’s take a look at the Manchester United team which could take the field against Arsenal.
David de Gea
The Spanish shot-stopper discolated his finger on international duty, but should be fit enough for the trip to London. The United No.1 has played every game this season, and would be desperate to continue his scintillating form.
Valencia, McNair, Smalling, Shaw.
Rafael continues to be a big miss at right back. The Brazilian provides an attacking outlet down the right flank, but the match at Emirates comes a bit too early for him as he gets back to full fitness. The positionally suspect Antonio Valencia should take his place while youngster Paddy McNair and Chris Smalling should pair up at the heart of the defence. Tyler Blackett remains an option at left back, if Luke Shaw fails to recover from his hamstring injury but the England international is expected to make the team.
Fellaini, Herrera, Di Maria, Januzaj.
Marouane Fellaini is starting to win few of his detractors with his impressive displays in recent games and his towering, commanding presence in midfield could tilt the game in United’s way at the Emirates. Ander Herrera’s energy in midfield will give United an added attacking thrust. While Angel Di Maria, who got clattered by a heavy tackle from Luis Nani, should make the game after his National team coach insisted his injury isn’t “anything serious”. Adnan Januzaj will start on the left wing with Di Maria on the right, leaving the matchwinner against Palace, Juan Mata to sit on the bench.
Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie.
Wayne Rooney notched up three goals on international duty for England and while his deeper position may have limited his contribution for United, Rooney in his No.10 role at the Emirates could wreak havoc on a suspect Arsenal backline. Robin van Persie will be buzzing to return to his former home ground after an impressive display against Latvia saw the Dutchman grab a goal and two assists.