What Do Arsenal Need to Do to Down Manchester United in the FA Cup?


Arsenal have a huge match on their hands in the FA Cup against Manchester United. The competition ended Arsenal’s trophy drought and as of right now, it’s the only competition that they are still very much alive in. But we’ve seen many different Arsenal clubs show up over the past couple months so the question is: what do Arsenal need to do to ensure victory and progression in the FA Cup?

1. Defend Like They’ve Been Defending

This one makes me nervous. Gabriel Paulista is injured and he’d been pretty steady at the back. Per Mertesacker went from a debacle against Monaco to a good effort against QPR, so he needs to show up and provide proof that he still wants to be a fixture on this back line.

The two full backs will have their hands full defending the wings, so it won’t always be prudent for them to join in the attack, especially after the fiasco against Monaco where they literally left their defending duties behind.

2. Keep Francis Coquelin in the Game

Francis Coquelin has the capability of shutting opposing teams out of the midfield. He’s a vicious tackler and he’s the last line of defense before the opposition gets to the Gunner’s defense. The problem with Coquelin is that he can be rash and impetuous in his challenges. Against a team as skillful as Manchester United, they may seek to exploit that rashness.

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Coquelin has a knack for picking up yellow cards, and a yellow card early in the game could be his undoing. It would really set him on the back foot, especially because a red card could ever be looming.

United have been forced to score from midfielders this year, and it’ll come down to the intensity with which Coquelin plays to shut them out of the game.

3. Get Alexis Sanchez Going

Alexis scored for the first time in seven matches against QPR and a weight was lifted… hopefully. Alexis needs to get back into his groove that we saw before his injury. The goal he scored at QPR showed all the skillful vision we had gotten used to seeing, now the trick is to keep that going.

We’ve seen Alexis take on defenses all by himself, but we don’t need him to do that anymore. He just needs to pick his runs, control the ball and use the team around him.

PREDICTION: Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United

Arsenal looked shaky at QPR despite holding a 2-0 lead most of the game. Manchester United is no QPR. However, they have just as much tendency to bumble through games as Arsenal does, but not as much so at home at Old Trafford.

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Arsene Wenger is going to have to pull out all the stops to down United, but lucky for us, we have all the stops available. The team is healthy, we have options, and if those options don’t pan out, we have other options waiting on the bench. Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey aren’t expected to start, but they could make an incredibly useful impact from the bench.

United don’t have Robin van Persie, their top scorer, plus Falcao hasn’t exactly been newsworthy this year, unless you count wanting to leave as being newsworthy.

I fully expect Giroud to continue his scoring streak and Alexis will look to begin a new streak as well. United may grab one late, but that won’t be enough to overcome the two-goal differential.

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