Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson will give his pre-match view and you can get his post-match verdict in our Talking Tactics feature on Arsenal Player. We’ll also hear from a journalist who follows the club we’ll be facing.

Stewart Robson

Manchester United have used two totally different game plans against Arsenal at Old Trafford in recent seasons. More often than not they have closed Arsenal down as high up the pitch as possible in order to stop the Gunners’ fluency. On other occassions they have dropped deep, remained compact and relied on their defensive capabilities to thwart Wenger`s men. However without Vidic and Ferdinand available I believe Sir Alex Ferguson will use the former strategy, so that his young centre backs will not be under constant pressure.

Scouting Report - Tactics

It’s unlikely there will be any changes to the 4-4-2 they have played all season. I think he will stick with the kids, especially at the back because of injuries. I don’t think there will be any changes because they played so well against Tottenham. In the two games I have watched so far, Phil Jones has looked terrific. Chris Smalling had a fantastic season last year, and Jonny Evans has come back looking how he did two years ago. De Gea looks a little bit vulnerable at times and has made a couple of mistakes, but because the team are winning he can get away with it and build up some confidence. At the moment I don’t see why he [Sir Alex Ferguson] would change Danny Welbeck for Hernandez or Berbatov, he has the best of both worlds really. Rio is back in training, but I don’t think he will be playing on Sunday. Darren Fletcher played for the Reserves last night, but I don’t expect to see him starting either.

I think United will look to exploit Arsenal at the back. I am not convinced that they have got it right there yet, although the goalkeeper [Wojciech Szczesny] looks terrific. That is one area where I don’t see any future problems. Certainly Wayne Rooney having a go at the back four is going to be interesting because I don’t think the confidence for Arsenal is quite there yet. Obviously in midfield they have lost Fabregas and Nasri so you have to wonder if there is a bit of a weakness there.

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26 Aug 2011