Manchester United veteran goalkeeper EDWIN VAN DER SAR, who is the Netherlands’ most capped player ever with 130 senior international appearances, has played, to date, 168 Premier League games for the Red Devils since moving from London-based Fulham Athletic for a reported transfer fee of 2.0 million English pounds in June of 2005. (Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
One thing the blog always looks at ahead of a big football match at any level would be the goalkeepers involved. Specifically, the experience and resumes of the shot-stoppers expected to be deployed between the sticks by the two clubs. In that regard, Manchester United has a huge advantage over Arsenal as the top two teams in the English Premier League set to meet at Old Trafford on Monday.
40-year-old goalkeeper EDWIN VAN DER SAR of Manchester United has already collected three Premier League championship medals with the Red Devils and, certainly, one more English title would be a fine way to close out a highly distinguished and successful career.
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Poland international LUKASZ FABIANSKI, who has 18 caps for his country under his belt, took over from Spaniard MANUEL ALMUNIA as first choice for FC Arsenal only this past Septmber after signing from Legia Warsaw for a reported transfer fee of 2.0 English pounds in May of 2007.
Arsenal currently top the Premier League table with 32 points from 16 matches. Manchester City won at West Ham United in East London on Saturday to move into second on 32 points from 17 games. Sitting in third place are Manchester United, the only side yet to suffer defeat in the Premiership this season, with 31 points after 15 league games.
Aside from the role goalkeeping will play, there are many questions to be answered as Arsenal and Manchester United clash at Old Trafford…
For starters, what impact is England World Cup striker WAYNE ROONEY, with just one goal in the Premier League thus far this season, to have, if any, on the game for the Red Devils?
Premiership : games/starts
GK : VAN DER SAR 15/15
DF : VIDIC 15/15, EVRA 14/14, O’SHEA 10/9, FERDINAND 9/9, EVANS 7/6, RAFAEL 7/6, BROWN 5/2, NEVILLE 2/2, SMALLING 2/0
MF : NANI 14/13, FLETCHER 13/13, SCHOLES 13/9, PARK 9/7, CARRICK 8/6, GIGGS 7/5, ANDERSON 4/3, VALENCIA 2/2, GIBSON 2/0, HARGREAVES 1/1
ST : BERBATOV 13/12, HERNANDEZ 10/6, ROONEY 7/5, MACHEDA 6/2, OBERTAN 6/2, OWEN 4/1, BEBE 2/0
goals — Berbatov 11, Nani 5, Hernandez 4, Park 3, Vidic 3, Fletcher 2, Evra 1, Giggs 1, Macheda 1, Owen 1, Rooney 1, Scholes 1
Premiership : games/starts
GK : FABIANSKI 10/10, ALMUNIA 6/6
DF : CLICHY 15/15, SAGNA 14/14, SQUILLACI 13/13, KOSCIELNY 11/11, DJOUROU 6/4, VERMAELEN 3/3, GIBBS 2/1
MF : ARSHAVIN 16/15, SONG 15/15, ROSICKY 14/5, NASRI 13/12, WILSHERE 13/11, FABREGAS 10/8, DENILSON 8/3, DIABY 7/6, EBOUE 6/4, EMMANUEL-THOMAS 1/0
ST : CHAMAKH 16/15, WALCOTT 8/3, VAN PERSIE 6/1, BENDTNER 5/0, VELA 4/0
goals — Nasri 8, Chamakh 7, Walcott 4, Arshavin 3, Song 3, Fabregas 2, Bendtner 1, Diaby 1, Koscielny 1, Sagna 1, Vela 1, Wilshere 1