Today is Sir Alex Ferguson’s 100th FA Cup tie as Manager of Manchester United. Being the most successful clubs in English football, Arsenal and Manchester United are currently the top
two in the league. They have appeared 35 times in the FA Cup final between themselves and have won it 21 times.
This is the 35th time that Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson Face off against each other. From the previous 34 Man United won 11 times where Arsenal won 13. From the remaining other fixture eight of them finished on level scores and the other two remaining were decided on penalties, where Man United won the 2003 Community Shield and Arsenal won the 2005 FA Cup.
Recently the Gunners are unbeaten in their last 3 matches against the Red Devils, where they drew one and won the in the premier league. United won 2-0 against Arsenal back on 9th April 2006 at Old Trafford.
This season they faced each other and drew the match at 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium on 3rd November 2006, where Gallas scored an own goal to give the Red Devils the lead. Fabregas soon drew level for the Gunners, but Christiano Ronaldo had other plans when he scored and gave United the lead. Just when the match was about to end Gallas scored in the dying minutes of stoppage time and drew level.
In the history of the FA Cup they played against on another 12 times, one them being a replay. Their most recent FA Cup encounter was at the Millennium Stadium in the final. It was a goalless draw which resulted in a dramatic 5-4 victory for the Gunners on Penalties. However the most memorable clash between them in the FA Cup was in 1999 at Villa Park when the scores were level at 1-1 and the game headed to extra-time. Ryan Giggs got the win for United with a 109th minute goal from a magnificent solo effort succeeded by a shirt-swinging goal celebration.
For today’s encounter Manchester United have Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra back from suspension. Louis Saha is available for use after his knee problem. However Gary Neville and Mikael Silvestre are expected to be sidelined.
For Arsenal, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue are back after their International duties in the African Cup of Nations. Theo Walcott is out with a thigh injury, Gael Clichy with a hamstring injury and Philippe Senderos with a knee problem. Bacary Sagna is not expected to play due to personal reasons.
Man Utd: Van Der Sarr, Kuszczak, Brown, O’Shea, Simpson, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Nani, Park, Scholes, Ronaldo, Anderson, Carrick, Hargreaves, Giggs, Tevez, Rooney, Saha, Welbeck.
Arsenal: Lehmann, Fabianski, Senderos, Hleb, Fabregas, Flamini, Adebayor, Eduardo, Bendtner, Traore, Song, J Hoyte, Gilberto, Gilbert, G Hoyte, Lansbury.
[by Shahnawaz Alam]