Good preview of the 2nd leg between Arsenal and Manchester United on UEFA.com with a lot of statistical information including the fact that United have won just one of their last ten visits to Arsenal and face opponents with a long unbeaten home record in the competition.
Some of the numbers behind today’s game:
- Arsenal have not lost in 24 matches in the UEFA Champions League proper – be it at their old Highbury home or the Arsenal Stadium – since going down 2-1 to Chelsea FC in a quarter-final second leg in April 2004.
- The Gunners have four wins and a draw at home in this season’s competition – and have not shipped a goal to a visiting team in the UEFA Champions League for 514 minutes. You have to go back to the previous time they welcomed Premier League opposition here in the competition for the last time they conceded – scored by Liverpool FC’s Dirk Kuyt 26 minutes into last season’s 1-1 draw in the quarter-final first leg.
- United, however, have not conceded in their last four away games in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage, since a 1-1 draw at Olympique Lyonnais in the 2007/08 first knockout round. Since then, the holders have recorded a 2-0 win at AS Roma, goalless draws at FC Barcelona and FC Internazionale Milano and a 1-0 win at FC Porto.
- Ominously for Arsenal, they have managed to prevail only once in the eight UEFA club competition ties in which they lost the first leg away from home, defeating HNK Hajduk Split on away goals in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup second round after a 2-1 away loss was followed by a 1-0 home win. Two recent UEFA Champions League campaigns have been ended in the first knockout round following an away defeat; against PSV Eindhoven in 2006/07 (0-1 away, 1-1 home) and FC Bayern München a year earlier (1-3 away, 1-0 home).
- Arsenal have lost all four of the ties in which they have suffered a 1-0 away defeat in the first leg. Aside from the PSV defeat, the London club also lost to KFC Winterslag in the 1981/82 UEFA Cup second round (0-1 away, 2-1 home), FK Crvena Zvezda in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup third round (0-1 away, 1-1 home) and PAOK FC in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup first round (0-1 away, 1-1 home).
- United, by contrast, have won all bar five of the 21 UEFA club competition ties in which they have won the first leg at home. However, on the last occasion, against AC Milan in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, a 3-2 win at Old Trafford was followed by a 3-0 away defeat.
- Perhaps more worryingly, United have lost two of three ties in which they won 1-0 at home in the first leg, that sole success coming en route to the club’s first European triumph in 1967/68 when a semi-final defeat of Real Madrid CF in Manchester was followed by a 3-3 draw in Spain. United lost to Juventus in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup second round (1-0 home, 0-3 away) and Hungary’s Székesfehérvári Videoton SC in the quarter-finals of the same competition in 1984/85 (1-0 home, 0-1 away, 4-5 pens).
- While Wenger is seeking to guide Arsenal to a second final in four seasons, Sir Alex Ferguson’s aim is to retain the trophy United won by defeating another Premier League adversary, Chelsea FC, in last season’s final.
- It looks like a case of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object given that United have not lost away from home in the competition for more than two years. This eleven-match run dates back to their semi-final loss at AC Milan on 2 May 2007 and includes two wins and three draws on their travels this term.
This tie should have been settled at Old Trafford, but United failed to kill of Arsenal and now they have to face a nervy 90 minutes at the Emirates. I cannot see United not scoring tonight, even though I think that Arsenal might win the game. So prediction is 2-1 Arsenal with United going on to Rome.