Is there a game played at Old Trafford in any season bigger than a semi-final of the Champions League? For me, there is none! Manchester United have definitely come up against bigger teams than Arsenal this season but you cannot deny that this is the most important home match of the season. It's a small matter of getting a good result at home that will help send us to Rome in May for the our second European Cup final in two seasons.
Unfortunately for my health, I've got a few worries ahead of this tie. It took United 9 years since '99 to make it to another CL final so you could see the desire and determination from the players in both legs of our semi against Barcelona. If it meant defending to get the result we wanted, we did. This season however, our players have suffered from a disease called complacency. It has cost us a few points but you feel the players always need an awakening in order to rise to the occasion. The past few games are testament to that. United might take Arsenal as fodder given that the club has never tasted Euro glory in its history, and yet statistically, they are currently the most difficult team to beat in England. They hold an unbeaten run of close to 20 league games and have not conceded a home goal since December. All that points to the importance of tomorrow's game. United need to do the damage in front of their own fans before they encounter the hostile atmosphere of the Emirates Stadium. United are capable of handing our visitiors a 4-0 thrashing but can as well suffer a hammering at their hands if they take them too lightly. The players we have have been there and done it so you hope that helps us. On the other hand, our opponents have bee there and failed to make it. It's what could inspire them more than us. You wonder if this opportunity has come too early for United--hopefully not!
Sir Alex has an almost full squad to pick from so hopefully he'll have learnt from Carlos Queiroz about how to handle the situation tomorrow. Walcott is threat number one for Mr. Patrice Evra. There is the now known Samir Nasri who is more than capable of taking advantage when defenders back away from him. If United defend well, then we could see this tie off in the fist leg. The Arsenal defence is not as strong as it will look--infact, they only defend by attacking! I feel that Sir Alex should not hold the fantastic 4 back if we are failing to hit the back of the net! Crucially for us, is the fact that if we try to beat Arsenal at their passing game, we'll lose--even both legs. We have the ability to put in a few tackles and play some 'air ball'. It frustrates Arsenal to the point of the white-flag. It's a mistake we did at the Emirates early this season and I hope we don't do it this time. We play he Manchester United way--and it's beautiful to watch but it's not the Arsenal way! Old Trafford, it's time to BELIEVE!