Manchester United love to play the crossing ball. Why wouldn't they, with targets like Robin van Persie & Nemanja Vidic in the middle.

Vidic won six of eight headed contests in the match against Fulham, and United will surely look to pick out the big Serbian in the middle on set-pieces tonight, as Arsenal have conceded the highest proportion of goals from set-pieces this year at 43% - including two to Liverpool in their 5-1 loss.

Wenger must look to Fulham as an example (a sentence that most would never expect to see) if he wants to take points tonight at the Emirates.

The Cottager's back four and defensive midfield were stellar last Sunday- totalling 69 clearances between them. Arsenal must look to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny to battle it out in the box and neutralise the threat in central areas, while Bacary Sagna and (presumably) Kieran Gibbs look to deny the service from the wings - a tall order.

Ever since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, United have loved to attack the wings. Nothing's changed under David Moyes. Juan Mata put in 11 crosses, Wayne Rooney put in 12, and Ashley Young added another 15 - that's one cross for every four and a half minutes the winger was on the pitch!

Where Fulham succeeded and where Arsenal need to come up big as well, was clearing the crosses. Out of the 82 attempted crosses that Fulham allowed, they cleared all but 16.

That's only one completion on every five attempts - which is why United's former assistant manager Mike Phelan had this to say: "Stats can give you a false impression and can hurt United more, they dominated in possession but did not win the game.

"You can harp on and harp on about possession but in reality that is not always what the game is about; it's about winning the game and creating chances to score goals."

While the Red Devils may have dominated in possession and attacks - they outshot Fulham 31-6 - their quality chances were so limited that only nine of those shots found the target. 

There's no question that Arsene Wenger has a better back four than Rene Meulensteen, but can they play up to the level the Cottagers did to secure three vital Premier League points?

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Topics:
Per Mertesacker
Wayne Rooney
Laurent Koscielny
Robin Van Persie
Premier League
Bacary Sagna
Manchester United
Nemanja Vidic
Kieran Gibbs
Arsenal
Juan Mata
Ashley Young
Football