Arsenal v Manchester United: Match Preview

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
Tonights match is the biggest occasion ever to take place at Emirates Stadium

Tonight's match takes place at Emirates Stadium

Tonight’s mammoth encounter in north London is undoubtedly the biggest match that has ever taken place at the new Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal’s 60,000-seater stadium has never hosted a Champions League semi-final. Quite simply it is the most important match that Arsenal have played since moving from Highbury.

For United, it’s a rare chance to reach a second consecutive Champions League final to have the opportunity to become the first team to win the trophy back-to-back.

Both sides won comfortably in the league away from home with very much weakened line-ups over the weekend. United disposed of Middlesborough 2-0 and Arsenal beat Portsmouth 3-0.

And both teams seemingly have statistics on their side. United, the defending champions, have never been knocked out of a European competition by an English club. Arsenal have never been knocked out of a European competition in a semi-final.

The last match that Arsenal lost at home in Europe came against Chelsea back in 2004 at Highbury in the Champions League quarter-finals. United are unbeaten in a record 24 Champions League matches.

Rio Ferdinand is expected to start after he recovered from a rib injury that he picked up in the first leg at Old Trafford. Arsenal will be boosted by the return of Robin van Persie, and in his pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger hinted that he may go with a 4-4-2 formation.

After Arsenal with a 4-5-1 formation were so outplayed by United in the first leg, most would expect Wenger to play van Persie with Adebayor in attack. It does of course depend on the Dutchman’s fitness.

And Sir Alex Ferguson is tipped to stick with the same set up that worked so well against the Gunners last Wednesday.

So United travel to London knowing that if they score one goal, Arsenal would have to score three in order to go through. And Arsene Wenger’s side know they must score to have any hope of progressing. It all makes for a thrilling all-English European night in London.

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

The Sport Review
Queen’s 2018: Nick Kyrgios serves up another big win to set Marin Cilic SF showdown
The Sport Review
10 goalkeepers Liverpool FC could sign in summer transfer window
The Sport Review
Arsenal transfers: 10 targets Gunners could sign for defence in summer
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning house in Madrid
The Sport Review
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
10 players Chelsea could sign in the 2018 summer transfer window
The Sport Review
Queen’s 2018: Nick Kyrgios edges Kyle Edmund in high-pace, fast-pace victory
The Sport Review
Cesc Fabregas admits he’s a fan of reported Arsenal transfer target
The Sport Review
Insider gives update on Real Madrid’s link to Man United star