While William Gallas is doing his best to wind up the opposition ahead of the Saturday evening clash at Old Trafford, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been speaking in a complimentary fashion about Arsenal – unusual in the extreme. The Guardian report that the Scot has been impressed by the Gunners’ progress under Arsene Wenger this season, most notably the performances of Emmanuel Adebayor.
“Before Arsenal looked to Thierry Henry as the player, whereas they now look more solid.
“Arsenal might be a more compact team now than when they had Thierry Henry in their side. They were more about individuals then,” said United’s manager, whose policy of never becoming sentimental has served him well.
“Adebayor’s height and physique makes a difference for Arsenal,” said Ferguson, who will preside over his 100th FA Cup tie today. “When we played them last season, they were knocking long balls up to Adebayor and Arsène Wenger says his physical presence has made a big difference to the whole team. We have seen big centre-forwards down the years whose main attribute was heading but Adebayor has got a lot more than that.”
Indeed, it might be said that one of the Red Devils’ current shortcomings is the absence of a forward who can hold the ball and bring others into play. Louis Saha potentially fits this criteria but seems to be injured more than he’s available, while Rooney and Tevez benefit more from having a striker to feed off. Will Fergie be in the market for a more physical striker in the summer?