Fergie goes with kids for Arsenal test

Sir Alex Ferguson will persist with his youthful revolution at Manchester United for this weekend’s fixture with Arsenal. At least that’s the message from the 69-year-old United manager, who says that form dictates younger stars, including Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, will continue in the United side for the visit of Arsène Wenger’s troubled Londoners. Indeed, with a nearly full squad for Arsenal’s visit Ferguson’s focus on youth is now a matter of expediency alone.

And while Arsenal struggles to overcome the loss of Cesc Fàbregas and Samir Nasri this summer, United’s quintet of experienced departures has seemingly revitalised Ferguson’s side. Three inventive performances of attacking verve and youthful flair into the season and a new optimism has descended on Old Trafford, despite the ongoing failure to recruit the new central midfielder many supporters and pundits crave.

How typical of Ferguson then to both praise his young stars and keep their feet firmly on the ground ahead of United’s biggest Premier League match of the season to date.

“They’ve only played a couple of games,” warned Ferguson.

“They have potential and we’re very enthusiastic about that potential and hopeful they can fulfil it. But the name of the game is what they achieve.

“I have a tremendous problem when it comes to picking a side but it is the kind of problem I want. Maybe some of their form will taper off. That is when the squad comes into play. At the moment they are doing very well. So I have to let it carry on.”

The aforementioned quartet of Jones, Smalling, Cleverley and Welbeck is likely to be included in Fabio Capello’s England squad for Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales early next month on the back of an excellent start to the new season. With Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young and, potentially, Rio Ferdinand also included United could boast up to eight players in the Italian’s squad.

The call-ups are, of course, a bitter-sweet moment for Ferguson, the Scotsman who has always put United before international commitments. Moreover, with Ferguson regularly falling foul of the Football Association, the United manager has more reason than most to resent England’s call for his youngsters.

“It’s not a problem for us. The FA may realise who has produced more players for their country than any club in the world,” added Ferguson, of the group’s call-up.

“Maybe they will get some joy from it and realise how important we are to England instead of treating us like shit. I am pleased for the players. They are outstanding so we’re all pleased.”

Manchester United v Arsenal, Old Trafford, 29 August 2011Internationals are for next week though and Ferguson can boast an almost fully fit squad for Arsenal’s visit. Aside from Nemanja Vidic, whom Ferguson confirmed will not return for another month, and Rafael da Silva, the Scot can choose from the full compliment available.

Indeed, fellow Scot Darren Fletcher played the full 90 minutes for United’s reserves on Thursday night and could feature against Arsenal after spending the past six months largely on the sidelines. Meanwhile, winger Antonio Valenica is back in full training, and United will make a late call on Ferdinand’s involvement against Arsenal. Javier Hernández could make his first start of the new season after suffering a concussion in pre-season.

“On the injury front, Darren Fletcher played a game last night which is great news,” Ferguson added.

“I think the boy is back now. He’s had a terrible time but now he’s looking terrific and he’ll be in the squad for Sunday. Chicharito came back on Monday which gives me a tremendous problem for picking a side but that’s the kind of problem we want.”

Ferguson must also choose between Welbeck or the returning Hernández to start alongside Wayne Rooney in attack. Welbeck’s mixed performances against West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur may colour Ferguson’s decision, with Mexican Hernández desperate to start after two months without football. Yet, 20-year-old Longsight-born forward Welbeck also scored one and created a brilliant other against Spurs, underlining the genuine if raw talent at Ferguson’s disposal.

It is a choice that boils down to Hernández’ goalscoring record stacked up against Welbeck’s talent, with Dimitar Berbatov’s class all but forgotten in Ferguson’s revolution; a key story of United’s summer.

“It was great to play again, unbelievable,” Hernández told MUTV.

“I had one month off after the Gold Cup, and then the thing happened with my head, so it was two months without games. That was difficult but I talked to my family and friends every day when I was out, and made sure I was ready. Thankfully, for the last game against Spurs I was on the bench, then I played 10 minutes and I enjoyed it a lot.”

Squad players Carrick and Park Ji-Sung could make their first Premier League appearances of the season if Ferguson opts for experience despite words to the contrary.

Meanwhile, the visitors arrive at Old Trafford boosted by qualification for the Champions League in the past week. Despite the departures of Fàbregas and Nasri a defiant Arsène Wenger has, to date, failed to add expensive replacements to his squad this summer.

Such is Arsenal’s current malaise, having not won a trophy in six years and seen key players depart, that some sections of Britain’s media have suggested Wenger may consider his future at the club. Yet, this widespread belief that the London club is already doomed to failure this season is one Ferguson rejects, despite 15 years of rivalry with his French adversary.

“I would like to know who is going to replace him,” said the United manager.

“The work he has done in the 15 years he has been at the club is the best in Arsenal’s history. Yes, he has not won a trophy for six years but what does that mean? The quality of his side has not been reduced.

“Chelsea’s involvement has created a lot of the problem in terms of trophies to win because they and ourselves have been dominating the Premier League. Now Manchester City have come on the scene. When Arsenal and ourselves were going head-to-head, it went on for about eight years. The competition is far greater now.

“But [Arsenal] answered everybody back on Wednesday. They got a great result and the game on Sunday will be another stepping stone for them.”

It is, however, a match in which Arsenal will be without midfielder Jack Wilshere, missing for three weeks with an ankle injury and, probably, Thomas Vermaelen, who faces a fitness test on Saturday. Meanwhile, Alex Song, Gervinho and Emmanuel Frimpong are all suspended for recent indiscretions. Plus ça change at Arsenal.

The absentees are hardly ideal against a vibrant United side in the 214th meeting between the teams: a series in which United has won 88 times to Arsenal’s 79. Moreover, United has won six of the last seven home fixtures against Wenger’s men.

And while Arsenal emerged victorious in the last fixture between the sides on May day, few will bet against an 89th win for United on Sunday.

Match Facts
Manchester United versus Arsenal, Premier League, Old Trafford, Sunday 29 August, 4pm.

Likely Line-ups
United (4-4-1-1): de Gea; Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra; Nani, Cleverley, Anderson, Young; Rooney; Hernández. Subs from: Lindegaard, Fábio, Evans, Carrick, Giggs, Pogba, Park, Valencia, Gibson, Fletcher, Diouf, Owen, Berbatov, Welbeck, Macheda.

Arsenal (4-5-1): Szczesny; Jenkinson, Miquel, Djourou, Sagna; Walcott, Ramsey, Rosicky, Lansbury, Arshavin; Van Persie. Subs from: Almunia, Fabianski, Traoré, Eastmond, Chamakh, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Miyaichi, Bendtner

United: WWW
Arsenal: DLW

Referee: Howard Webb (Rotherham)

Sharing is caring


  1. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    I HATE international football! The football is usually shite, the games are boring, and, outside of promoting nationalism, the format is totally pointless. The new EPL season has just gotten underway, and United have got some momentum going, but now, after tomorrow, we get to experience two weeks without meaningful football, and the possibility of some players being injured for nothing. Why can’t these useless competitions be played at a time when they don’t interfere with league play?

    If Arsenal lose tomorrow, Swansea, which has yet to score a goal in three matches, will be above them in the standings.

  2. Damian Garside says

    hi all

    This is to help keep you amused until the big game later today (pity poor Arsene if we beat his team because the press are going to start to dismember him, maybe Fergie can take him on instead of Phelan if he gets the old heave-ho).

    Cheers from Mafikeng, South Africa



    Your shirts the colour of a
    baby’s first jump suit

    you ran from Frannie happy, flying
    fat as a Summerbee
    until the Bell told and you
    fell into a horrible slump

    your own little ice (blue) age. But hope
    spring eternal that the

    mullet time of
    last glory may still return, your

    ship coming in from
    the harbours of Spain, Germany, Argentina

    and the money of
    the desert fall like
    manna from the sky bringing

    thousand year reign, time
    at last to discover the
    inticacies of real football,

    at last, in your case,
    almost the beautiful game

    (pity though that
    you moved home from
    your inner-city battle zone

    for if you hadn’t then we
    could truly speak of the
    brave new galacticos of
    Manchester Moss Side).

  3. Damian Garside says

    OK Fergie, this team is disintegrating: so who are we going to tap up? Anyone we can get in the next two days: all we have to do is to promise them that they too will be in a Scorcese/Goodfellas long tracking shot welcome to OT sequence that will be on You Tube and be that much classier that what the blue bunch did for Nasri. Maybe we can tap up Walcott and get Tyhe Biggs to play him in the short film, and then we could have James Gandolphini as Ferguson (real Goodfellas feel here) or even, De Niro (hairdryer scene at half time where he looks Nani square in the face and says `you looking at me…you looking at me… you must be looking at someone..). Oh sorry mixing my Scorcese films.

    For the monies City paid for Nasri we could buy half of the rest of the Arsenal team. They all want to ge — its the biggest basement bargain sale in the history of football, Go on Ferg: tap them up!

  4. Damian Garside says

    from the Guardian (but I edited it a little)
    love the bit about Nasri’s goal against us on EA Sports: that will surely have us quaking in our boots.

    Maybe it’s time for us UTd fans to write a book: The Manchester United fan’s guide to the `other’ clubs. The chapter on City would be much longer than any of the others, except perhaps Liverpool.

    here’s the piece from the Guardian

    Manchester City’s film should get an ‘X’ certificate
    For all their wealth City’s shoddy attempts at projecting self-importance have more in common with the club in the 1980s
    But basic photo ops are no longer enough for a club who welcomed recent big-name signings with cutting-edge PR initiatives such as the Tevez Billboard and Adebayor’s Arndale Spittoon. So Nasri’s arrival was recorded for posterity with a cinematic flourish, an auteur from City TV capturing the moment with an elaborate, over-ambitious, Goodfellas style long tracking shot.
    An epic sequence was soon in the can, then up on YouTube, where it became an internet sensation viewed by tens of people. In one lengthy, tightly choreographed take, Nasri enters the building for the first time, climbs a flight of stairs, squeezes past two security goons, sashays through an open-plan office, meets the club’s communications director, exchanges an awkward high-five with Patrick Vieira who had been standing in noir-ish shadows mysteriously texting, and disappears into the office of a shady Mr Big (played, it says here, by Garry Cook, a bravura performance).
    Clocking in at nearly a minute and a half, it’s a masterful example of scene setting, introducing myriad characters, and the nearest yet any club’s in-house propaganda machine has got to replicating the three-minute opening sweep from Orson Welles’s A Touch of Evil. Or the seven-minute traffic scene from Week-end (1967, dir Jean-Luc Godard) which culminates in a more literal kind of car crash.
    You’d just wish, though, that the club themselves would rein it in a bit. City also celebrated their capture by commissioning their “club partner” EA Sports to knock up a computer-generated image of Nasri scoring “his first City goal” at home against United. Naff, and with a questionable premise to boot: City don’t entertain their neighbours until 28 April, the third-last game of the season. That’s quite a goal drought. It’s almost as if, somewhere in the back of their minds, they’re still expecting everything to go very badly wrong. Perhaps this new lot aren’t so far removed from the old City after all.

    Manchester City’s film should get an ‘X’ certificate | Scott Murray

    This article was published on guardian.co.uk at 23.02 BST on Friday 26 August 2011. A version appeared on p16 of the Sport section of the Guardian on Saturday 27 August 2011. It was last modified at 00.08 BST on Saturday 27 August 2011.

  5. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    One of the papers, forget which one… is saying, that Russian outfit that just made Eto’o worth 300k a week are going to offer United £25mill for Vidic, and offer him 180k…

    If true, I think it might happen…

  6. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    I am a little concerned that United may, indeed, attempt to match Arsenal’s 4-5-1 with a 4-4-2 formation, come out all guns blazing, but, after fifteen or twenty minutes of failing to put a shot on target or seeing their shots blocked by defenders and saved by the keeper, lose control of the midfield, and watch as Ramsey, Walcott, and Van Persie run riot.
    EDIT: I’d like to see United line up like this:
    De Gea
    Smalling / Rio / Evans / Evra
    Cleverley / Jones / Anderson
    Nani / Rooney / Young

  7. han says

    with that scoreline form shite hart lane, that has definitely set the bar for us to emulate this afternoon
    arse are there for a good gangbanging session
    just hope rooney is in the mood seeing as though berbs is going to be warming the bench

  8. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Has anyone got a non-Sopcast stream? I haven’t found a replacement for MyP2P and Veetle sucks at the moment.

  9. definitely not tommyTommy says

    Theatre of Dreams living up to it’s name today!! Fucking magic. So happy for de Gea.

    Although im fucking annoys that we are now lumped in with city as ‘the Manchester clubs’. What a bag of wank.

  10. definitely not tommyTommy says

    Chico will tear this defence apart with his runs off the ball. He’s good at finding space, and there’s plenty to be had against this back four

  11. madredmonkeymadredmonkey says

    Tommy said:
    Chico will tear this defence apart with his runs off the ball. He’s good at finding space, and there’s plenty to be had against this back four

    hope so, but he is still finding his fitness.

  12. Lucas says

    great half…evra definitely at fault for their goal…he was nowhere to be seen when rosicky made that pass.

  13. bman says

    I feel bad for that young Arsenal defender Jenkinson, he’s certainly not to blame for everything that’s been shit about Arsenal’s defending, he’s made a good effort for a young lad.

  14. bman says

    ltel said:
    how the fuck have this asenal side scored 2 against us….. not happy lol

    Yeah, there’s a lot that’s exciting about our side at the moment, but we aren’t a shut door at the back, we need to work on that.

  15. ltel says

    we have been awesome sid…. and arsenal have been and are total wank now. if they dont sign anyone they will finish 6th

  16. Sidsidney says

    ltel said:
    we have been awesome sid…. and arsenal have been and are total wank now. if they dont sign anyone they will finish 6th


    Ando and Cleverley in the middle again. They must have been awesome

  17. Sidsidney says

    Someone give me a run down on the game!

    Was Jones a monster? De Gea alright?

    Another top performance from Ando? And Cleverley? Welbeck?

  18. madredmonkeymadredmonkey says

    remember this day lads this will be a part of united history, 8-2 lol,


  19. han says

    i remember a 6-1 raping when yorke ran the show i think 9 years ago but this was a total gang banging in all holes

  20. madmaxmadmax says

    Evra a bit dodgy at the back. Nani was at times infuriating. De Gea is definitely improving. Young was immense. Absolutely brilliant. So was Smalling. Smalling is like Rooney in defense. Could become one of the best defenders around. Anderson and Cleverly were very very good. As usual Rooney was brilliant.

    fuckinell I’m excited about this team. If only Fergie signs another class midfielder,we can fucking thrash teams away too.

  21. NameOnTheTrophy says

    great performance.. but arsenal were shite.. The real test for the midfield would come against the dippers

  22. sheesh says

    Arsenal fans are such cunts. Have that. We were a bit shit defensively but what a game. Young was immense as was rooney. Another united game for the wank bank.

  23. han says

    ashley young’s 2 goals were awesome having just seen them on tv
    de gea will learn – good pen save but could have done better with walcott’s strike
    absolutely wonderful team performance
    the massive must be feeling bitter

  24. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    rooney is a colossus, he’s been fantastic in every game so far, the cantona of this new side, in his best position

  25. Just1n says

    Fuckin hell. What a performance. Im loving this young side with adventurous football. Much better than the boring dross of last season.

  26. sheesh says

    We do still need to sign a couple of top class midfielders for europe but i am pleased for players like cleverley and welbeck that they have stepped up to the plate when called upon.

  27. sheesh says

    I hope carrick never gets near the united team if this is how well we play without him. Makes such a nice change watching good football again.

  28. kramer says

    fucking hell, that was crazy.
    every single forward played superb. should’ve scored 10 actually.
    defending was sloppy though – de gea still doesn’t look completely sure, evra isn’t getting back to his best, and jones has a tendency to follow the ball and likes sliding in a bit too much. maybe they’ll improve.
    anyway, stunning match – did anyone catch that 60 yard cross field pass rooney made to smalling towards the end? scholesesque
    and there was also that ridiculous corner he gave away after smashing the ball towards his own goal from a throw in near the half life.

  29. definitely not tommyTommy says

    kramer said:
    and there was also that ridiculous corner he gave away after smashing the ball towards his own goal from a throw in near the half life.

    yeh what the fuck was that about

  30. ltel says

    sidney said:
    He’s been a monster for me

    Most improved player of the season IMO

    he has alright sid.. helping out defenders, attacking, bossing the midfield, scoring and creating.. hes been awesome,

  31. dozer says

    Fergie when asked about Welbeck’s hamstring said that he complained about his hamstring before the game! He couldn’t get Hernandez ready for the game so Welbeck played.

    What about Berbatov?! – this means he’s off surely?

  32. baloobaloo says

    dozer said:
    Fergie when asked about Welbeck’s hamstring said that he complained about his hamstring before the game! He couldn’t get Hernandez ready for the game so Welbeck played.

    What about Berbatov?! – this means he’s off surely?

    I don’t think he meant before the game, he said ‘Just before’ i.e. just before he pulled up. They’d told Hernandez to get warmed and changed, but they couldn’t get him on the pitch in time.

  33. madredmonkeymadredmonkey says

    baloo said:
    I don’t think he meant before the game, he said ‘Just before’ i.e. just before he pulled up. They’d told Hernandez to get warmed and changed, but they couldn’t get him on the pitch in time.

    Baloo, your right thats what Alex said.

  34. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    madredmonkey said:
    Baloo, your right thats what Alex said.

    Monkey Bollocks… you’re right… that Baloo is right… that’s what Fergie said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *