My earliest memory of Manchester United was the 4-5 home defeat on 1st February 1958 which I watched from my usual position on the corner to the right of the North Bank. At the time it was called the best game ever seen in an English League fixture. It was the last game that United played in England before the fateful Munich disaster, only five days later, in which twenty three passengers and crew were either killed or died later from injuries sustained in the crash, among them were eleven United players and staff.
The first half was all United as they went into a three nil lead, the first goal, by Duncan Edwards, being an incredible shot from near the centre circle which the Arsenal ‘keeper, Jack Kelsey, could only push up and into the top of the net.
In the second half Arsenal came back to level the score at three all before United took the lead again before The Gunners equalised for the second time only for United to get the winner.
The teams were:-
Arsenal: J.Kelsey, S.Charlton, D.Evans, G.Ward, J.Fotheringham, D.Bowen, V.Groves, D.Tapscott, D.Herd, J.Bloomfield, G.Nutt.
United: H.Gregg, B.Foulkes, R.Byrne, E.Colman, M.Jones, D.Edwards, K.Morgans, B.Charlton, T.Taylor, D.Viollet, A.Scanlon.
There have been many memorable games against United and some that we would all like to forget, this afternoon’s clash could give us the opportunity to gain revenge for the early season debacle at Old Trafford. However, I have no doubt that United will look to exploit the dearth of fit full-backs in our squad by allowing Nani and Valencia the freedom to run at the make-shift defenders at every opportunity. It could be a long and difficult afternoon for Djourou and whoever plays at left back. It is vital that the centre-back pairing are on top of their game and that there are no lapses of concentration as at Swansea last week.
None of our regular full-backs are going to be available, maybe Vermaelen will be able to fill in on the left but that could be a risk unless he has fully recovered from the calf injury that has kept him on the sidelines recently. At least there seems no doubt about the fitness of our ‘keeper Szczesny so at the moment the defence looks to be:-
Djourou Meretesacker Koscielny Miquel
With Arteta still injured the rest of the starting eleven just about picks itself, the one caveat is if Henry is chosen to start in place of Arshavin, but I doubt that Le Professeur is going to be brave enough to do that.
Walcott Ramsey Arshavin
Sunday’s referee is Mike Dean, it is worth noting that Arsenal have not won a Premiership game with Mr. Dean as referee since November 2008.