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Arsenal vs. Manchester United: Match Preview

Arsenal welcome the league champion Red Devils to the Emirates in match where three points would be pretty gosh darned nice to get all three points. Just saying.

Alex Livesey

Arsenal vs. Manchester United
Sunday, April 28, 11 AM EDT
Emirates Stadium, North London, just downstreet from a Starbucks
SB Nation Manchester United Coverage: The Busby Babe
TV Coverage: Fox Soccer Channel and foxsoccer2go

Arsenal welcome Manchester United, who have won the English Premier League, to the Emirates tomorrow for a match that is decidedly crucial for the Gunners and perhaps a little less so for the Red Devils. Of course, along with the visit comes former Gunner and Public Relations Expert Robin van Persie, who scored in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

There will no doubt be anger directed towards the striker, and frustration on the part of the fans at the club giving Manchester United a guard of honor, which Arsene Wenger has vowed to do. It is the right thing to do, as much as it hurts, but once it is concluded, Arsenal must focus on the task at hand, which is to take all three points and keep a leg up on Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the race for the top four.

Sir Alex Ferguson, for his part, has said that he will field a strong team tomorrow. Both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand may be available, and other than long-term absentees Ashley Young and Darren Fletcher, the Scot should have his usual complement available to him to tweak into whatever formation he desires. van Persie will be at the head of it, no doubt.

For Arsenal, there seems little reason to change from a team that has been working pretty well as of late, but of course, Olivier Giroud will not be available for three matches due to his red card. Lukasz Fabianski is still out as well, so Wojciech Szczesny will keep his place in goal from the Fulham match. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny will form the central defense.

The one area that does seem a bit in flux lately is left back; personally, I feel Kieran Gibbs should play tomorrow, as he has felt more consistent defending-wise than Nacho Monreal has so far in the Spaniard's time here (I'm thinking in particular of the match against Spurs).

Mikel Arteta has been carrying a bit of an ankle problem lately, but he should be okay to start tomorrow. Jack Wilshere will probably start in the middle, but I think I'd prefer that Tomas Rosicky did. Oh well.

Possible lineup:

Sagna - Mertesacker - Koscielny - Gibbs
Ramsey - Arteta
Walcott - Podolski - Cazorla

What do you reckon? Who'd you like to start?

Match prediction: