Arsenal Vs. Manchester United, 2012 Premier League: Hobbled Gunners After Revenge

Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal attempts to block the shot by Danny Welbeck of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal. Man Utd and Arsenal play on January 22, 2012. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Arsenal look to avenge the most embarrassing loss anywhere in the Premier League this season when they host Manchester United on Sunday.

Arsenal were dealing with a variety of injuries when they suffered an 8-2 defeat to Manchester United, and their current fitness doesn't appear to be much better. Key players Robin van Persie, Alex Song and Laurent Koscielny are fit to go against United, but the absentees could make up a decent team of their own.

Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Francis Coquelin, Andre Santos, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere are all out injured. Thomas Vermaelen and Thierry Henry are doubts. Gervinho has left for the Africa Cup of Nations. That's ten players. That group is a central defender and a goalkeeper away from making a team that could compete for a European place.

Meanwhile, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have recently returned to fitness for Man United. They're still without Nemanja Vidic and Ashley Young, but the majority of their first team is intact. They're not going to be forced into playing their players out of position or giving youth team players a run-out. With the two teams very even at talent when full-strength, this should presumably be the biggest difference between the two sides and make United a favorite to win, even at the Emirates Stadium.

The Arsenal youngsters are more experienced and in better form than the previous meeting between the two teams, however, and van Persie is perhaps the most in-form striker in the world. An Arsenal win would be an upset, but not a terribly shocking one.

Arsenal vs. Manchester United

Game Date/Time: Sunday, 11:00 a.m. ET, 4:00 p.m. local

Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, England

TV: FOX (USA - check local listings), FOX Deportes (USA - Spanish), Sportsnet World (Canada), Sky Sports 1 (UK)

For more on the two teams, check out Manchester United blog The Busby Babe and Arsenal blog The Short Fuse.

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