Arsenal v Manchester United, a classic battle of the Premier League era sees two of the best sides in the country do battle once again, in what will be a feisty clash filled with crunching tackles and gripping football.
That’s how the introduction would have read 10 years ago…
Arsenal v Manchester United, a classic battle of the Premier League era sees two teams who have fallen on hard times. They will do battle once again, in what will likely be a drab affair between a team lacking confidence and an understrength visiting side.
Nevertheless, Sunday’s game at The Emirates does have some importance, as both look to battle for a European place.
We’ve seen Arsene Wenger switch from a back four to a back three and back again in recent weeks but, I’ve decided to go old school with my team selection this week, in a line-up that harps back to the good old days.
So, in goal, who else but Petr Cech, obviously. The one thing I ask of the Czech this week is to please, for the love of god, keep a clean sheet.
The message will also be conveyed to the back four, with Laurent Koscielny and the returning Shkodran Mustafi playing a crucial role. While the form of Mustafi had begun to dip before his injury, he and Koscielny have looked the most assured partnership in the side throughout the season. They’ll need to be on their toes on Sunday though, all because of a certain Marcus Rashford.
A switch to a back four sees Hector Bellerin at right-back. I need the Spaniard to perform as much like Lauren as possible, up and down all day, attacking and defending until his legs can hold him no longer.
I am asking for the same from Nacho Monreal on the left, just more like Ashley Cole than Lauren…you can probably see where this team selection is going.
Now, we all know about the days of title-winning Arsenal sides. Whether it be the double winning side of 97/98 or the Invincibles of 03/04, the success of early Wenger era was built upon the 4-4-2 formation.
Well, my friends, the day has come, the 4-4-2 has returned. Why you may ask. Well, as previously stated, it was the formation that the successful portion of the Wenger era was built on, and also, because why the hell not! If it ain’t broken don’t fix it, I believe goes the statement, so we may as well give tried and tested ago.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was voted as player of the month for April so he obviously keeps his place, playing as a right-midfielder. There’s also an Alex on the opposite flank, with Iwobi taking the left-midfield spot. I need both to get at United and cause problems for their weakened side, but, they both need to help out their respective full-back when required.
While it would be a crime for me to call Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva or Emmanuel Petit hatchet men, it was their fight and desire that saw the battles with United and Roy Keane ensue every time Arsenal faced The Red Devils.
Therefore, as part of my attempt to bring back the glory days, I have selected two players who show the most fight in central midfield.
Francis Coquelin is firmly in the category of hatchet man so he starts, while the drive and energy of Mohamed Elneny secures his spot alongside. Simply instructions for these two, if it wears a United shirt and has the ball, kick it, either will do, within reason of course.
And, it wouldn’t be I’m The Boss without the apparent lunacy and controversy, so Mesut Ozil, DROPPED! Welcome to the bench young man.
As for the strikers, it’s two from a possible four of Sanchez, Welbeck, Giroud and Walcott.
The obvious flaw in my 4-4-2 masterpiece is a lack of any player who remotely represents either Dennis Bergkamp or Thierry Henry, so, I’ve drawn inspiration from elsewhere.
At this summer’s European Championships, Olivier Giroud lined up alongside Antoine Griezmann in attack for France. The pair managed nine goals and four assists between them, highlighting Giroud’s effectiveness in a pair.
So he takes one of the starting spots with the simple instruction of imagine you are playing for France…and bloody score!
Now, we just need someone to represent Griezmann. I suppose Alexis Sanchez will do. I can’t quite give him the France-based instruction as it may well confuse him, so his is to not throw a strop…and bloody score!
Well, that’s my team, interesting one to say the least.
Probably a lot more interesting than Arsene’s team will be, but we shall see.