Saturday, 7 March 2015

Manchester United Host Arsenal in the FA Cup Quarterfinals

It doesn't get bigger than this, two English powerhouses collide in the FA Cup quarterfinals to clinch their most optimistic looking trophy this campaign. On Monday night, Arsene Wenger’s men travel to Old Trafford to face a stubborn Manchester United who somehow has the zeal and zest to secure wins regardless the style of play. It’s the oldest association football competition in the world plus both this rivals are tied with 11 trophies each, therefore the winners on Monday have the finest chance to sit at the peak of FA Cup achievement. Louis Van Gaal and Wenger are under skintight battle in the league for the nerve-wracking top four position. Lifting the FA Cup at Wembley and securing Champions League football next season will undoubtedly fulfill the board’s checklist this season.
Over the years, numerous classics of excellence have been witnessed between the two prolific clubs, which ensures the upcoming 90 minutes at the red half of Manchester would be a cracker! Back in 1999, 10-men United defeated Arsenal with a sublime strike from wing wizard Ryan Giggs. Then Paul Scholes scored from close range to end the Gunners treble hope back in April 2014 and the Red Devils surged to the final against Milwall. A year after, the North London team tasted revenge when Lehmann leaped as the solo hero as he made a superb save out of Scholes penalty. In February 2008, Old Trafford saw the home side roaring as Arsenal were hammered 4-0 where Emmanuel Eboue was given the marching orders. Finally, in March 2011, the Red Devils made life more miserable for Wenger. Coming into the match after being knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona plus downfall in the League Cup final to Birmingham City, the Gunners nosedived out of their third competition in a week as United easily crafted their route to the semifinals.

It would be a battle between two well-known bosses in the history of football, the professor Wenger vs the philosopher Van Gaal. The Frenchman seems to have excelling tactics to habitually ensure European football for his side plus seizing the FA Cup last season after a rumbustious victory over Hull City in the finals. On the other hand, the Dutchman has covered several leagues and tasted various achievements. No matter which side you’re cheering for victory, both these talismans justify immense respect.  Van Gaal has previously managed two giants, Barcelona as well as Bayern Munich who vastly pursued Wenger’s availability, who was fixed to remain at Arsenal. Additionally, the professor has not clinched a victory over the 63-year old. The holders’ boss is renowned for his virtuoso of crafting young players into world-class stars who at times end up with rivals. However, comparing the ratio of victories between the clubs, Wenger’s side are reasonably stuttering on most occasions. The 13-time Premier League champs need to bump out from the mental block which turns their performance lopsided. The best remedies for the visiting warriors would be, pull up your sleeves and fight! On a good day, it’s purely delightful to see them play with fluidity of passes and attacking flair that certainly get opponents to run out of steam.

Manchester United and England skipper Wayne Rooney is another key individual who has scored series of wondrous goals against Arsenal. The childhood Evertonian has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League once, yet has not tasted success in the FA Cup. The dream team star has determinedly stated that he is ready to break down the voodoo this time on! Both teams play with different strategies and embrace lethal line of attack which could be the turning point to mount into the semifinals. Will Wayne Rooney spark magic from the middle of the park or Sanchez’s mercurial runs into the box bringing chaos in the penalty box for the home side? Ensuring goals and stunning dramas!