How many of Arsenal’s team would make it into Manchester United’s starting eleven?

As much as the end to the current season could be extremely exciting and successful for Arsenal, they are still not quite where they used to be as a club. There was a time, of course, when they were unbeatable. There was a time when it was only the Gunners and Manchester United fighting it out for the league title.

So, what has happened in the last few years which has prevented Arsenal being one of the ‘big two’? For eight seasons in a row, Arsenal finished no lower than second in the Premier League. This was until the last three when their final positions have been 4th, 4th and 3rd.

One way to see just how far away Arsenal are from being Manchester United’s main challengers again could be to see how the individual players compare. How does Arsenal’s full strength team match up to the best team the Champions can put out?

This is something I would like your opinion on, so without too much analysis, let’s take a look at my views:

Edwin Van der Sar v Manuel Almunia – Has to be Van der Sar unfortunately.

Gary Neville v Bakari Sagna – Personally, I’d rather have Sagna in my team.

Patrice Evra v Gael Clichy – For consistency purposes, it has to be Evra.

Rio Ferdinand v William Gallas – This is a close one, but I think the odds would be in favour of Ferdinand.

Nemanja Vidic v Kolo Toure – For similar reasons that Evra won, Vidic is the winner.

Cristiano Ronaldo v Theo Walcott – For what he has achieved in the last couple of years, it’s going to be Ronaldo.Ask me again this time next year though.

Ryan Giggs v Andrei Arshavin – Giggs is still a decent player, but for creativity and variation the Russian wins this one for me.

Michael Carrick v Cesc Fabregas – No competition, Fabregas all the way.

Paul Scholes v Denilson – A number of players could fill this position for Arsenal and all of them will be as good as/better than Scholes at some point, but for now, the former England man has to get the nod.

Wayne Rooney v Robin van Persie – For me, this is the closest one of the lot. In fact, I can’t choose between them. This one is a draw.

Dimitar Berbatov v Emmanuel Adebayor – Neither have been fantastic this season. However, the Manchester United man (and Carlos Tevez) has produced the goods more often.

The end result for this ‘experiment’ is Manchester United 7.5 v 3.5 Arsenal. Whether this means much, I’m not sure. However, it does suggest that Arsenal are just two or three established high quality players short of challenging for the Premier League again.

This could happen in the next couple of years when the likes of Walcott, Clichy and Denilson really kick on as players – you never know. It certainly makes a change from the days of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires, or Tony Adams and Ian Wright and co when Arsenal would have been much closer to Manchester United in this type of analysis.

Something to think about isn’t it? Let me know your thoughts.

By Thomas Rooney

Wenger tips Adebayor for successful 2009 ahead of trip to Hull City

This is a guest post by sports writer Thomas Rooney

Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor scored 30 goals in all competitions during a season where he looked like becoming one of the best forwards in the world. As we move into the second half of the current campaign though, Adebayor has only found the net 11 times.

As a result of this, some have questioned whether his goal scoring exploits were a one-off. Others have suggested that regardless of the amount of goals he has scored, Adebayor has quite simply not been the player he was last season.

Arsene Wenger is prepared to admit that Adebayor hasn’t hit the heights he is capable of in recent months, but is confident that the striker is moving ever closer to his best form. The Arsenal boss says that the player is ‘working very hard’ to improve his game and the fact that his form has dropped a little is irrelevant because this ‘happens sometimes’.

Wenger also highlighted the way Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal scoring record this season has differed significantly to last time out. Ronaldo netted an incredible 44 goals last term, but has only netted nine times to date this season. Therefore, Adebayor is not alone in failing to be as good as last year.

The Arsenal man still has plenty of time to reach 20 goals this season though and that is a decent return. As Wenger says, it isn’t always about the goals Adebayor scores anyway. Sometimes the way he ‘contributes to the team’ by assisting other players is equally as valuable as a goal.

This weekend sees Arsenal travel to Hull City in a match that Adebayor will be keen to find the back of the net in. It would certainly repay Wenger for publically backing him.

As for Arsenal’s chances in the game itself, well it is a game they should win. However, we have been here before haven’t we? Back in September, Hull travelled to the Emirates as significant underdogs, but managed to snatch all three points. It was a result that received much criticism and there is no doubt revenge should be on the Arsenal players minds this weekend.

One thing that needs to be mentioned is that Hull City were flying when they visited Arsenal in September. They were in the top three places in the Premier League and beating almost everyone they came across. This isn’t the case anymore. In fact, they have only won once in their last 14 matches.

Therefore, their confidence won’t be as high as it would have been in September. Arsenal need to capitalise on this by stamping their authority on the game from the beginning. In reality, Arsenal’s superior ability should be enough to win the match, but if needed the motivation of revenge should ensure the three points. It won’t be easy though!

In terms of team news, William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre will be unavailable for Wenger and Alexandra Song will face a late fitness test as Arsenal look to extend their seven match unbeaten run with a professional victory at the KC stadium.

By Thomas Rooney

Arsenal Transfer Rumours Plus Senderos, Traore

The season is not yet over and already the transfer rumours have started in earnest. David Villa is suggested as a  transfer target here.

He wants to play in England and he is a proven goalscorer: (David Villa Video). He probably would cost £20 million but would be a worthwhile signing. He’s also linked to Liverpool due to his partnership with Torres in Spain Internationals, so I hope we get him.

“I watch the Premier League a lot and the team I’m most attracted to is definitely Arsenal. If an offer comes in I’m hungry to test myself in England.”

The Sun links us to Gomes, whilst Ben Arfa is linked with us but has dismissed the rumours, till the end of the season at least. Feyenoord’s attacking midfielder  Jonathan de Guzman this is a bit less likely really.

Good analysis of the media coverage on Wenger recently, click to read Arvind Gooner’s article .

Arsene reckons Man Utd will overcome Henry and Barca here.

“It will be an English team that wins the Champions League. I wish that Thierry Henry wins it but Manchester United will be super-favourites against them.”

Traore On the Wing

Traore is to switch to the wing. He says he wants to follow in Eboue’s footsteps, I hope he doesn’t because right now Eboue hasn’t been a great conversion.

Traore is promising and used to play on the wing anyway. He is a pretty attacking player and he looks good he played well on the wing in the Reserves’ 5-1 win against Derby on Monday.

Senderos Anguish

Senderos has been calling home to his parents every night because he is so upset after we lost to Liverpool in the Champions league. Wenger gave him Sunday and Monday off, that’s why he didn’t play against Man Utd. Click here. His father said:

“He was not feeling too good after Arsenal went out of The Champions League.”

“Firstly because he is a winner and his team had been knocked out, and then because he was angry with himself.”

“Knowing his character as I do, I can fully imagine him bursting into tears in the dressing room.”

Eduardo injury news

He’ll be having treatment alongside Ronaldo in Rio, he was pretty excited about that! His cousin commented on his progress:

“When he took away the plaster, on the 31 of March, he was only managing to move the big toe of his foot. Today (Wednesday), he has already moved the foot a bit”

It’s good to hear Eduardo is progressing, we’ve missed his goals since he has been injured, I hope he can make a good recovery.

Not so good to hear about Senderos, he does seem a bit low on confidence at times, hopefully he can recover too because he has a lot of potential for Arsenal, many good centre backs struggle at first, he’s still young, and I’d like to see him mature at Arsenal, not elsewhere.

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Manchester United Vs. Arsenal, Line Ups. It’s Make Or Break Time

Morning all,

Looks like we’ve got:

UPDATE:

Lehmann

Toure Gallas Song Clichy

Eboue Fabregas Gilberto Hleb

Adebayor Van Persie

Lehmann has come in for Almunia and Song replaces Senderos. It is his first start for a long time, and I hope he can replicate some of those excellent performances he put in for Cameroon in January. Eboue again sarts ahead of Walcott, why not put Toure and Gallas in the centre and Eboue at right back, it seems to make more sense to me, then we would have our stringest possible lineup in my opinion. Arsene knows? Pretty standard line up, I think this is quite strong, the only problem is Flamini’s injury. Gilberto I hope can nullify the threat from United’s Midfield, especially Ronaldo when he cuts in from the wing.

Wenger knows that the whole season will now be probably defined by the result at Old Trafford today. Click here.

“It will be the greatest achievement of my career to win the Premier League now because we are swimming against the stream at the moment,” said Wenger.

“For us the game on Sunday is the game of the season. If we do not win this game we have no chance.

“We will fight until the last second of the championship.”

Fighting talk from Wenger and it’s all true. Exactly what yopu want to hear at this stage and I hope he can inspire the players today!

He comments here on the refereeing recently:

“In 11 years [at Arsenal] it’s the worst I’ve seen,” he said. “It is in every game. It is difficult to understand. It damages the confidence of the team and then you become more vulnerable, but it is like that.

It is true that the decisions that we have had go against us have hit the team hard, but we can only fight back, we can’t blame refereeing decisions for our loss of form, and I don’t think Wenger is, but they haven’t helped us.

He knew about the risk with his youth policy he tells Sky Sports.

Theo Walcott has garnered a bit of positive attention after his run against Liverpool, attention which is well deserved.

Cesc says a draw today would be as bad as a loss. That is true and I think we are going out for the win as always.

RVP agrees, saying that we aren’t going to change our style of play today.

So make or break time today. I m pretty cautious about the match, but I know we can achieve if we play right on the day.