Manchester United v Arsenal preview

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Updated: August 27, 2011

Arsenal travel to Old Trafford on Sunday looking for the first premier league of the season however despite admitting that Manchester United are the favourites for the title, the French man was confident his side could produce a surprise result.

The second half performance against Udinese will have pleased Wenger and speaking to Arsenal.com, the manager was keen to build on that showing against United

“The response we gave in the second half against Udinese gives us a lot of strength and credit. It convinces me that this team has the ability to respond. And of course there is another opportunity to do that against Manchester United on Sunday.

“They are definitely [still the team to beat]. For us to beat them would be a great boost and would put us in a great position. We did it at the end of last season and would like to do it again.”

An opening day to Newcastle followed by a 2-0 home reversal to Liverpool have led many to question the title credentials of the Londoners, especially given the departure of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

However while there won’t be any new faces on show in Sunday’s clash, there should be a lay flurry of activity at the Emirates as Wenger goes about spending his cash.

For Manchester United, the season so far has been bereft of drama with wins over West Brom and Spurs giving the red Devils a 100% record. Sir Alex Ferguson will have been pleased with the performances of Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverly so far, and with the young pair joining Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Johnny Evans and David de Gea in impressive showings last Monday, latest batch of fledglings will delight the veteran manager.

Another who has made a solid start to life at Old Trafford is Ashley Young; the former Aston Villa winger has linked up well with Wayne Rooney and should start against the Gunners while Javier Hernandez will be pushing for a starting berth after starting last week on the bench.

Ferguson will welcome back Darren Fletcher to his squad after the tough tackling midfielder, who has been struggling with a virus since March, came through his second 90-minute reserve-team outing on Thursday night against Swansea. The Scottish international could feature at some stage as Ferguson eases him back into action.

Rio Ferdinand and Antonio Valencia have both returned to training after recent hamstring and ankle troubles and could also start on the bench however this game comes too soon for Nemanja Vidic (calf) and Rafael (shoulder).

Meanwhile despite being confident of getting a result Wenger comes into this game without a number of key men with Alex Song, Gervinho and Emmanuel Frimpong all suspended and Jack Wilshere, Nicklas Bendtner, Kieran Gibbs and Abou Diaby out injured.

However there was some good news as defender’s Thomas Vermaelen Laurent Koscielny both look set to return after injury.

United (from): De Gea, Lindegaard, Smalling, Ferdinand, Jones, Evra, Evans, Fabio, Nani, Park, Cleverley, Anderson, Carrick, Fletcher, Giggs, Young, Rooney, Berbatov, Welbeck, Diouf, Owen, Macheda.

Gunners (from): Szczesny, Jenkinson, Djourou, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Sagna, Walcott, Arshavin, Rosicky, Ramsey, Traore, Van Persie, Lansbury, Fabianski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Miquel, Miyaichi.

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