Manchester United-Arsenal Preview
By TOM BENNETT
STATS European Football Writer
(AP) -- Both teams will be looking to bounce back from hugely disappointing defeats Wednesday evening when Arsenal host Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium.
David Moyes' Manchester United (12-5-8) dropped yet more points as Fulham held the current Premier League champions to a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday. The result means United have won just two of their last six games and are 15 points off the top of the table. Other results over the weekend have left United nine points outside of the Champions League qualification places with just 13 games remaining, and Moyes admitted Sunday's result was the lowest point of his first season in Manchester.
"Today was as bad as it gets," said Moyes after Darren Bent's injury-time equaliser denied his team all three points. "We gave away a diabolical second goal. You could use maybe mental softness as an excuse, in that we didn't see the job out and get the job done. It was a game we should have easily seen out. There was no reason not to see it out, it was comfortable. You couldn't say we were ever under any real pressure. We had the odd counter-attack to deal with but we didn't have much else to do.
"The players are hurting. I can see every day that they're hurting, because the results aren't going the way they want. They're really good professionals in the way they go about their work and what I see in training makes me feel they'll get results. We've just got to go into the next game."
Arsenal (17-4-4) head into the latest round of Premier League matches just one point behind league-leaders Chelsea, but a 5-1 hammering at the hands of Liverpool on Saturday cast doubt over the Gunners' title credentials. Arsene Wenger's side started Saturday's game so poorly they were 4-0 down after just 20 minutes, but the Arsenal boss is convinced his players are capable of bouncing back with a win on Wednesday.
"Our performance was poorer on Saturday than at Man City," said Wenger, referring to the 6-3 defeat against City in December. "But I'm confident we will respond in a positive matter on Wednesday night.
"I think it's a shame that we couldn't turn up with a better performance. After 10 minutes we conceded two goals on set-pieces, that just shows that the level of concentration was not there and that when nobody takes responsibility in these kind of situations it's always a bad sign.
"It is about how well we do at home at the Emirates, of course starting on Wednesday. Recently we have been very good defensively at home and offensively as well. That is what we want to show on Wednesday night."
Arsenal have injury doubts over Thomas Vermaelen (calf), while Kim Kallstrom (back), Theo Walcott (knee), Aaron Ramsey (hip) and Abou Diaby (knee) are out. United have concerns over the fitness of Tom Cleverley (knock), Phil Jones (concussion), Jonny Evans (calf), Nani (hamstring) and Rio Ferdinand (knee), while Marouane Fellaini (groin) is out.
Arsenal have won just one of their last 13 games against United in all competitions, and a 1-1 draw in this fixture last season is the Gunner's only point from the last five league meetings.
Robin van Persie scored midway through the first half to secure a 1-0 win when these teams met at Old Trafford back in November. Van Persie has scored in all three games for United against Arsenal since he left the north London club in 2012.
Updated February 10, 2014