The two Manchester United players key to shutting Arsenal down

Darren Fletcher

Manchester United need two veterans to repeat previous heroics at Arsenal and show they still have what it takes.

Manchester United head to The Emirates preparing to face a potential Arsenal backlash after their battering at Anfield.

The Red Devils have a point to prove of their own of course, and may be able to take advantage of a nervous Gunners side who have all the pressure upon themselves in the midst of a month crucial to their title chances.

Crucial to United's chances of playing spoilers to Arsenal's progress are two players who define such a role.

Here they are and how they can make an impact: 

Darren Fletcher

Fletcher is a player who has haunted Arsenal in the past, demonstrating his ability to hassle the Gunners' midfield and not allow them time on the ball. He's incurred the wrath of Arsene Wenger on previous oocasion, the Arsenal boss stating of the player: "There are players who make ­repeated fouls and who are never ­punished and get out of the game without a yellow card.”

At his peak, he was effective at stifling the Gunners, the question is now whether he is the same player. He started against Fulham at the weekend, and with Phil Jones recovering from concussion David Moyes is likely to ask Fletcher to start. He's likely to be given a man-to-man job on Mesut Ozil, who has his own point to prove in the clash. How effective, or not, he is - could go as far as deciding the game.

Nemanja Vidic

Nemanja Vidic had a disappointing game against Fulham, caught out of position for both goals, when he really needed a big display after announcing his intention to leave the club at the season's end just days before. Fortunately the clash with Arsenal, and Oliver Giroud, gives him the perfect platform to make amends.

Vidic thrives on physical contests, and that's exactly what his clash with the Frenchman is likely to entail. When they met in November, the Serb dominated him during the 45 minutes he played before going off injured, with Jamie Carragher stating Giroud was 'bullied' in the head-to-head encounter. Giroud stated after the game that Vidic, 'p***ed him off', claiming he took several 'unfair' elbows to the face. Vidic may feel he already has a mental edge against him, but he will need to lift his game to shut down Arsenal's top striker once again. If he can, then it takes away a sizeable part of Arsenal's game, especially with regular midfield goalscorer Aaron Ramsey out injured.

Will Fletcher and Vidic shut Ozil and Giroud down?

image: © apasciuto

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