Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Berbatov's the Key Man to Stop the Relentless Gunners; Talking Tactics

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Berbatov's the Key Man to Stop the Relentless Gunners; Talking Tactics

Article excerpt

Byline: Stewart Robson

MANCHESTER UNITED

ARSENAL

PREMIER LEAGUE

OLD TRAFFORD, TOMORROW, 5.15PM. LIVE ON SKY SPORTS 1

SIR ALEX FERGUSON would have been hugely impressed by Arsenal's performance against Celtic in midweek. Although the Gunners didn't need to play at their best, the Manchester United boss knows he must devise an attacking game plan to dismantle Arsenal's relentless pressing, while also combating their attacking potency.

The key to United's hopes tomorrow must rest with Dimitar Berbatov. Ferguson will want the ball played into his main striker as quickly as possible because he is a brilliant target man when motivated.

Whereas most strikers are looking to flick balls on with their head from long passes, the Bulgarian uses his strength to hold off defenders while also using his technical capabilities to bring the ball under control.

He will also drift onto Bacary Sagna or Gael Clichy to receive diagonal passes and dominate them physically. If Berbatov plays well, United will be able to start their attacks from an advanced area with Wayne Rooney and United's wide men producing their own brand of clever football.

Arsenal can be attacked via the long cross-field pass and Ferguson will encourage his back players to hit those passes often. Arsenal's attacking wide players are more reluctant to track back beyond the halfway line. Therefore, expect Patrice Evra to join his left-sided colleague to outnumber Sagna. United will rarely miss an opportunity to cross the ball whenever they get in wide areas, even though William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen have dealt with most things thrown at them.

United will need to negate Arsenal's domination of midfield. Fergie can do it by asking Rooney to drop deeper or alternatively, get either one of his wide players to tuck infield.

If Arsenal are to maintain their great start, Gallas and Vermaelen will have to prove they can deal with United's movement behind them.

YOUR GUIDE TO MATCH FORM GOING INTO THE BIG CLASH AT OLD TRAFFORD

MANCHESTER UNITED

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