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No place for off-key Ozil in combined Arsenal and Man United XI

| 11.02.2014

Nobody mention crossing or zonal marking when Arsenal welcome Manchester United to the Emirates as both sides look to bounce back from exasperating Premier League games last time out.

Arsenal’s odds of 11/10 to triumph over their old adversaries would have been far more palatable pre-Anfield it must be said, though the 5/2 on an away win is a braver shout still.

Brave shouts are what we’re all about here at news.Ladbrokes though, and we think you’ll agree that our latest attempts at big teams-mixology is certainly laced with a few, like Mesut Ozil making do with warming the bench.


The goalkeeping position was one that divided opinions straight down the middle over our way and for this reason David de Gea is a little unlucky to pass the gloves over to Wojciech Szczesny.

The right-back slot goes to Rafael whose extra pace and attacking edge is preferred to the more defensively solid Sagna, who is slowing up a little these days.

Indicative of their season so far, Man United’s back-four representation stops there.

Last season, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra would have kept out Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs with ease, but both 32-year-olds look to have lost their mojo post Sir Alex Ferguson.

Per Mertesacker gets the nod over Jonny Evans for consistency and aerial ability among other attributes.

Arsenal’s control over this XI is stamped by the presence of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey taking the central midfield roles.

Ramsey may be injured, but the Welshman’s stats speak for themselves in his landmark campaign to date, while Wilshere has the tenacity and the skill to operate beside his Emirates teammate.

However, the big shock comes in the number 10 role where £40m man Ozil pays the price for his declining performance levels, with Wayne Rooney preferred.

Juan Mata and Robin van Persie restore some pride for the champions up front, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adnan Januzaj are unlucky to be kept out by in-form Santi Cazorla.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.