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Man Utd v Arsenal as it happened

Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal



To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111 . (Not all contributions can be used)

By Jonathan Stevenson

2205: Time to go, then. Hope you enjoyed the midweek entertainment, despite a dramatic shortage of goals. Surely next week will deliver? Surely? Join Chris Bevan as the Premier League returns on Saturday, and don't forget that I'll be bringing you Real Madrid v Barcelona from about 1830 BST on the same day. Take it easy.

2200: If you fancy a bit of 606, then Tim Lovejoy will be taking your calls on BBC Radio 5 Live right about now. He'd probably be quite chuffed if you wanted to get involved.

2157: Four times before Manchester United have won the home leg of a European Cup semi-final 1-0, and twice they have gone out of the competition at this stage - against FK Partizan in 1965/66 and AC Milan in 1968/69. They went through against Real Madrid in 1967/68 and of course against Barcelona last season.

2153: I wonder what odds you could have got on John O'Shea, with his 15 career goals, being the only goalscorer in 180 minutes of Champions League football this week? He's dedicated his goal to his dad, a lovely touch from the Republic of Ireland defender.

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor: "Carlos Tevez has made it know that he is missing the big games and tonight he did OK, but I thought the manager was right to make the substitutions when he did and Tevez shaking his head as he came off doesn't help anyone."

2148: I think Danny the Stat would like you to get involved. Hear him now: "All change on the Player Rater. Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has stormed into an unassailable lead with 7.57. Except it's not unassailable, is it? Thanks to the beauty of 'getting involved', you - yes, you - can change things. Maybe you fancy John "7.48" O'Shea? Or Wayne "7.37" Rooney? Maybe even Bacary "5.75" Sagna. The point is, it's over to you lot..."
Rate the players

Manchester United's John O'Shea: "Their keeper made a couple of great saves, but from our first-half display we should have been a couple more goals up. We've got the lead, but we know it's far from over. Arsenal are a good side and they kept the ball well at times."

2143: What this does mean is that for now at least, Fergie and Wenger are back to being all-square in their personal duel - it's 14 wins apiece now from their 38 games played.

From yorker_129-7 on 606: "The crucial element for me was not conceding the away goal. With that done, and with a goal of our own in the bank, I expect us to come through this. Rome, here we come!"
Join the debate on 606

2139: They've been a slightly disappointing two games haven't they? Don't forget that the second legs are next week, so there's not long to go until Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester United and Arsenal can all redeem themselves.

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor: "Will it be enough for Manchester United, that's the question? Though from an Arsenal point of view, they've got to beat United by two goals to go through, and not many teams do that."


2135: Full-time Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal

2134: Bacary Sagna's cross from the Arsenal right is backheeled away by Nemanja Vidic. The Gunners are doing some very late doors pressing here.

2133: Cristiano Ronaldo chests down a Michael Carrick header 30 yards out and lashes in a right-foot half-volley that is just a bit off target. Two minutes left.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Tense final stages now - but you suspect United will now settle for this scoreline on the basis they have a lead to take to the Emirates and have so far avoided conceding that all-important away goal. No-one could dispute they deserve the victory, indeed Sir Alex Ferguson's only complaint will be that his side should have made so much more of their supremacy."

2131: It's a fractious end to the game, similar to much of the second half - and not dissimilar to last night's second half either. We're into injury time and there will be four minutes.

2128: Rio Ferdinand is led away by a Manchester United physio and Jonny Evans is his replacement. Might be quite a bit of injury time now then.

2126: The free-kick is floated over and Edwin van der Sar gets absolutely nowhere near it - only for Nicklas Bendtner to head miles wide from about 10 yards. Perhaps should have done better. Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand is in serious bother.

2126: Rio Ferdinand goes straight through the back of Eduardo and the England defender is struggling a little as he jogs away from the scene of the crime.

2124: Seven minutes left plus stoppages at Old Trafford. Stick or twist?

2123: He is. Croatian Eduardo, who not many people would begrudge any sort of winner's medal, comes on for Emmanuel Adebayor for Arsenal.

2121: Eduardo is getting his training top off. Presumably because he's about to come on.

From jrcjohnny99 on 606: "That was a close decision..."
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2118: Bacary Sagna's cross from the right is headed behind for an Arsenal corner by Nemanja Vidic, with Emmanuel Adebayor breathing down his neck. Except the assistant gives a goalkick. Moments later Ryan Giggs is a fraction offside as he runs through and scores - Fergie is raging, but he won't be after the replay.

2116: Pressure from Manchester United now and they work the ball to the left to Ryan Giggs, who sees his cross headed over his own crossbar by Mikael Silvestre. Good job he didn't forget who he was playing for.

From Jack, Leicester, via text on 81111: "Whoa, did I just see Berbatov run?!"

2113: Some good approach play this time from Manchester United ends with Michael Carrick pulling the trigger and shooting just wide from 30 yards.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Carlos Tevez departs to the usual rapturous reception from his adoring Old Trafford public - accompanied by chants of "Fergie, Fergie sign him on" as they dare to give Sir Alex some advice. Ferguson will be hoping Ryan Giggs, on his 800th appearance for United, provides a calming influence while Dimitar Berbatov delivers the cutting edge.

"Last 20 minutes on an enthralling encounter, and Arsenal still in it, despite spending most of the game on the back foot."

2111: Theo Walcott, who has been disappointing tonight, is taken off and replaced by Nicklas Bendtner.

2111: Arsenal move straight up the other end and Cesc Fabregas drills wide from out on the right of the United box.


2110: That is absolutely world-class. Cristiano Ronaldo collects the ball 45 yards out, takes it forward a little and then unleashes a monster of a shot that dips viciously and fairly crashes against the crossbar with Manuel Almunia barely even aware of its existence. Wow.

From adriano13 on 606: "Hmm... Tevez will be absolutely raging."
Join the debate on 606

2107: Ryan Giggs - 800 not out for Manchester United. Anderson, who has had a very good game, is replaced by the Welshman, who gets a standing ovation. Carlos Tevez shakes his head as he is withdrawn and Dimitar Berbatov comes on.

2105: Cristiano Ronaldo throws a proper wobbly after thinking he had been brought down on the edge of the Arsenal area. Referee Claus Bo Larsen completely ignores him.

2104: Emmanuel Adebayor clatters a volley over from 20 yards - he struck it well enough, but just couldn't quite get on top of it enough.

2103: Emmanuel Adebayor takes up a position on the left as Samir Nasri breaks forward and the striker collects the ball and plays a woeful pass to no-one in particular that gives possession back to United. Not his night so far, Adebayor.

2102: Anderson, who has never scored for Manchester United, side-foots over the Arsenal bar from 20 yards after good approach play from Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Arsene Wenger's right-hand man Pat Rice has taken up permanent residency in the technical area offering encouragement to Arsenal's players as they strive desperately to find a foothold in this match. United are still wanting to play at the high pace that served them so well before the break.

"A point about the Old Trafford crowd. They are often criticised for long periods of silence at the Theatre of Dreams. Not tonight - they have been noisy throughout, although a second goal would make them feel lot more comfortable, as it would Sir Alex Ferguson judging by his half-time chat."

2100: Darren Fletcher gives the ball away and Cesc Fabregas is only stopped by the covering Rio Ferdinand - who gives his Scottish team-mate a glare-and-a-half after that sloppy bit of play.

2058: I won't lie to you - the second half hasn't really started yet. I mean it has, but not much has happened. You know what I mean.

From Cermo15 on 606: "Arsenal need to get Eduardo on. His unbelievable link-up play and finishing is just what we need."
Join the debate on 606

2054: Alex Song commits his second foul of the game and he'd better be careful - he's one of the players who would miss the second leg if booked.

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor: "If you're not going to play Wayne Rooney centrally, within 10 yards of the centre-forward - his best position - this left flank is the best place to play him. He works so hard and can work positions very well, but I'd still rather see him in a more central spot."

2051: Emmanuel Adebayor once again goes up for a header from another long ball - he just looks so out of it this evening, the lone frontman. Maybe Nicklas Bendtner would be a better option?

2049: Fergie's right, you know - if United don't get that second goal, it may well come back to haunt them. Question is, how desperate are Arsenal for an away goal?

2047: We're back under way.

Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "Towards the end of the half they had some possession, but they never really bothered us. I just hope we can get that second one."

Conor, Bishop's Stortford, via text on 81111: "Really hoping Wenger can work some half time magic, but I can't see it happening. Why are we all of a sudden bottling it when our most important string of games comes around?"

From Rafael4Brazil on 606: "I never thought I would say this, but O'Shea - goal apart - is playing brilliantly. On the other hand Evra has been awful, giving the ball away far too much."
Join the debate on 606

My man of the match so far - Anderson. Majestic.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Scintillating first half from Manchester United and Arsenal can consider themselves fortunate to be only one goal behind. The Gunners have, however, just started to show signs of life after United's early surge threatened to blow them away. It's a very contented Old Trafford at the interval. Sir Alex Ferguson will want more of the same, while Arsene Wenger will surely want a greater attacking threat - Edwin van der Sar has been virtually unemployed."

2036: The self-styled (not really) King of Stats is back. Over to you, Danny: "Poor John O'Shea. He finally gets his moment in the limelight by tonking in the only goal so far - yet it's still not enough to see him gain top spot on our Player Rater. Indeed, O'Shea is languishing somewhat on 6.58, far behind such illustrious "seven breakers" (it'll catch on) as Cristiano "7.05" Ronaldo and Wayne "7.15" Rooney. You're probably reading this incensed by the injustice. Do get involved my friends..."
Rate the players

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor: "Manchester United may well regret not going in at half-time with more than a one-goal lead. They were in total control for so long, but eventually Arsenal have sorted themselves out and it's much more even now."


2031: Half-time Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal

2030: Theo Walcott gets a lucky break just outside the United box but chooses to try and lift a pass through to Emmanuel Adebayor and it's cut out - he should have gone on himself.

From Oli, always right in Leeds, via text on 81111 : "What did I say to you earlier about birthdays, Stevo? It's O'Shea's tomorrow!"

Good point. He's 28, the Irishman.

2027: Anderson latches on to a Darren Fletcher pass and is clean through - but a flag stops him in his tracks. Terrible decision - two Arsenal players were keeping him on.

2026: Wayne Rooney does well to cut in from the United left and jink past a couple of Arsenal players, only for the striker to bend his shot wide of the far post from the edge of the area.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Arsene Wenger turns away in disgust as Arsenal are caught in possession once more by Carlos Tevez - but at least Arsenal have actually had some possession as the interval approaches. United's game has been played at an extraordinary speed and with lung-bursting energy. Arsenal must hope they cannot maintain it for the whole game because they have struggled to live with the Champions League holders in this first half."

2023: One of my colleagues has just made a good point - that every time Theo Walcott gets the ball down the Arsenal right, Wayne Rooney tucks in and doubles up on the England winger.

2021: Much, much better from Arsenal. With Cesc Fabregas in his proper position a bit further back, they start knocking it around like we all know Arsenal can and United are left chasing shadows for a couple of minutes. Oh, it came to nothing, eventually.

From RippleTheOnionBag on 606: "What on earth is going on here? The in-form team being ripped apart by the out-of-form team. Bedlam."
Join the debate on 606

Yellow card

2017: Anderson breaks and plays a lovely one-two with Carlos Tevez, but the Brazilian, who has started very well, plays a pass just too long for Cristiano Ronaldo. Shortly after Anderson tries to slip in Tevez, but Manuel Almunia comes out quickly to gather - and gets a boot in the head from the Argentine. Tevez is booked.

2014: Cristiano Ronaldo gets his head on to a Carlos Tevez cross five yards out and should score - but he nods it at Manuel Almunia, who has scrambled across his line to make the save. Moments later, Ronaldo's shot from 15 yards is saved by Almunia, who pounces on the rebound.

From Adam, London, via text on 81111: "The Gooners seem to need to go a goal down to get their act together. Fingers crossed."

2012: Nice stuff from Arsenal, that's more like it. The ball is worked to Emmanuel Adebayor on the edge of the United box and he lays it back for Cesc Fabregas to shoot, but it flies straight at Edwin van der Sar.

2011: John O'Shea has scored once before in the Champo League before - against FC Copenhagen on 17 October, 2006. United won 3-0 that night.

2009: Wayne Rooney shoots from 50 yards, out on the Manchester United right. It's six or seven yards wide, but a sweet half-volley if ever I saw one - especially from that range.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Arsenal never looked likely to survive that fierce early siege from Manchester United, and so it proved as Old Trafford is in ecstasy following the early goal Sir Alex Ferguson will have craved.

"Arsene Wenger's side must clear their heads quickly because there was almost a bemused look about some of the Gunners as they made their way back to the centre circle.

"I have watched United struggle to find rhythm and tempo on several occasions in recent weeks - but they have gone straight into overdrive here. Arsenal are suffering and Wenger has come to the technical area to offer advice. Much needed."

From essienthetrain on 606: "Maybe Arsenal could do with a lesson in Hiddink's 'anti-football'?"
Join the debate on 606

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor: "The Arsenal players, unless I'm seeing things, look a bit unhappy in their roles and with the way they are playing."

2004: Arsenal need to get a footing in this game very quickly. There might be two legs but they don't want this to get to 2-0 or 3-0, because if it does, they're in real trouble.


2002: GOAL Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
It's been coming, you'd have to say. Michael Carrick picks the ball up from a corner, tricks his way to the byeline and his cross is deflected to the far post where John O'Shea of all people rifles it into the roof of the net. OK, hands up - who had O'Shea first scorer? Thought not.

2001: How did Carlos Tevez not score? He feeds the ball out to the right to John O'Shea and his cross finds the Argentine on his own, six yards out. His shot is brilliantly saved by Manuel Almunia.

From Al, Chelsea fan, via text on 81111: "As a true Blue I think it will be easier for us in the final if Arsenal go through. But, on the other hand, it would be fantastic to get one over Man United and beat them."

Presumptuous, or optimistic?

1957: Arsenal get some possession around the United penalty area, but they seem a little unsure of how many men to commit forward and eventually they gift the ball away.

1955: The pace has slowed considerably after a frantic start. United are knocking it around a bit like Barca did last night, probing for that little opening. Cristiano Ronaldo's shot from 20 yards trickles through to Manuel Almunia.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester United are at their best when playing at a high tempo - and they have flown at Arsenal in a vibrant Old Trafford atmosphere. Wayne Rooney has already has joy on the left while Cristiano Ronaldo will test young Kieran Gibbs on the other flank. Arsenal need some possession to steady those early nerves."

1951: United are firmly in control even this early on. Remember Chelsea launching aimless balls to Drogba last night and the ball coming straight back at them? Looks like Arsenal might fall into the same trap with Emmanuel Adebayor.

From enigmaticenigma on 606: "Cracking start!"
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1947: Kieran Gibbs slips and Cristiano Ronaldo collects a cross from the left inside the Arsenal area - but he doesn't look up and just smashes it across the six-yard box and out of play.

1946: Darren Fletcher swings over a deep cross from the right and Wayne Rooney's header is looping goalwards - Manuel Almunia saves it scrambling back across goal. Decent save.

1946: Cristiano Ronaldo goes on his first run down the United right at Kieran Gibbs and the youngster gets in a really good sliding challenge, leaving Ronaldo limping a touch.

1945: We're under way. Genuinely.

From Charlotte, Spurs fan, via text on 81111: "In hospital for the next two weeks so hope there's plenty of goals to cheer me up, especially as I can't watch it. Chelsea-United final."

Time to get the goals in, then. Get better soon, pet.

1943: United's fans at one end spell out the word 'Believe'. I think they probably do, in fairness to them.

1941: They've even come out onto the hallowed Old Trafford turf. You know, I don't think we're that long from getting under way. Get in.

1940: The teams are in the tunnel. My, that build-up went quickly.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester United's fans certainly appreciate the news that Tevez starts - he remains a real crowd favourite here despite the continuing uncertainty surrounding his future. Sir Alex Ferguson clearly prefers the busier style of Tevez and Wayne Rooney to the more languid approach of Dimitar Berbatov tonight, despite lavishing praise on the Bulgarian's display against Spurs on Saturday. The atmosphere is building nicely - let's hope it is the 'perfect' semi-final Ferguson predicted."

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 Live's Graham Taylor: "I'm still not certain of Fabregas in this link-up role just in behind Adebayor - from what I've seen of him, he's better of playing 20 or 30 yards further back. But we're in for an exceptional game of football tonight."

From Zippy, George and Bungle on 606: "Arsenal were very good on the break at Anfield the other week. I think that's why Fergie has stopped short of an all-out attacking line-up. That said: Kieran Gibbs against Ronaldo?"
Join the debate on 606

1932: Players who can miss the second leg if they get booked tonight: Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra, Samir Nasri, Alex Song, Abou Diaby.

1929: Big night for Carlos Tevez, too, the Argentine getting a start in a massive game for once. Maybe Fergie's desperate to convince him to stay at Old Trafford. Here's what he said about Tevo's second-half introduction against Spurs on Saturday: "We needed to speed up and Tevez was responsible for that. He got the rest of the team playing." Shucks.

1925: Cristiano Ronaldo will hope to do a bit better than fellow galactico Lionel Messi did last night, as the Portuguese makes his 50th appearance in the Champo League. This season, he's had more shots on target (22), more shots off target (16) and been fouled more times (31) than any other player left in the competition.

From Andrius, London, via text on 81111: "Stuck at home with no TV, wife won't let me go to the pub 'cos of swine flu. Will be relying on Stevo's updates for this big one. High-scoring game on the cards for sure."

Saddest story I've ever heard. Unless you're joking. I hope you are.

1919: I hope Emmanuel Adebayor behaves himself tonight in his lone role up front for Arsenal. The Togo hitman has been flagged offside 19 times in this season's Champions League, more than any other player. The Gunners have 42 as a team - more than any other semi-finalist.

1916: Ryan Giggs will have to wait for his landmark, but another United legend will be honoured tonight. Sir Bobby Charlton will be given the Uefa president's award by Michel Platini before kick-off. "Sir Bobby Charlton is an outstanding gentleman and ambassador for our game," said Platini. The last recipient was former Real Madrid great Alfredo di Stefano.

From Didier Drogba's Bald Patch on 606: "The secret about Arsenal's success against United is that they are one of the few teams in Europe that pass and move the ball a LOT better than United. I concur with the other poster; I miss Vieira and Keane."
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BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is an early starter - he has just beaten his Arsenal counterpart Manuel Almunia to the pre-match warm-up.

"Much of the pre-match talk has surrounded the confrontation between Arsenal's Theo Walcott and United full-back Patrice Evra. Evra's form has slipped recently and Spurs' winger Aaron Lennon gave him a tough time on Saturday. How will he cope with the lightning speed of Walcott? One of the key personal battles that one."

1905: United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has opted for the youth of Anderson and Darren Fletcher in midfield, probably to combat the free-flowing passing game the Gunners are famed for. Arsenal have a five-man midfield with with Emmanuel Adebayor operating as a lone striker - but don't be surprised if Cesc Fabregas has a licence to go forward and support him at every opportunity.

1902: Carlos Tevez does indeed start, with Dimitar Berbatov having to settle for a place on the bench. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs must settle for places alongside the Bulgarian. For Arsenal, Kieran Gibbs passes a fitness test.

Manchester United team: Van der Sar, Evra, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez.
Subs: Foster, Berbatov, Giggs, Scholes, Park, Rafael, Evans.
Arsenal team: Almunia, Sagna, Gibbs, Silvestre, Toure, Diaby, Song, Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, Adebayor.
Subs: Fabianski, Eduardo, Denilson, Ramsey, Djourou, Bendtner, Eboue.

From Graham, London, via text on 81111: "An early goal and we will be in for the mother of all games. Football, I predict, will be the glorious winner tonight. Show Chelsea and Barca how to play a proper semi-final please. Theo first goal and game to finish 2-2."

1853: PFA Footballer of the Year Ryan Giggs, who is enjoying a quite astonishing Indian summer to his magnificent career, will reach yet another landmark if he plays tonight - it would be the Welshman's 800th appearance in a United shirt. What can you say about him that hasn't been said before? Well, he's slow, he can't dribble, and his left foot's a bit weak.
Giggs earns prestigious PFA award

From Slider on 606: "Does anyone else miss Vieira and Keano on nights like these...?"
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1846: Anyone expecting Fergie and Wenger to crank up the mind games chat ahead of tonight will have been left sorely disappointed. Here's our favourite Frenchman: "I believe we have a better relationship now." And here's our favourite Scot: "Arsene has always kept his principles the same and I think that's great credit to him." Jeez, get a room...

1842: However, Arsenal did win when these two teams last met - cast your minds back to November, when Frenchman Samir Nasri bagged a brace and Rafael's left-foot stunner was nothing more than a consolation.
Report: Arsenal 2-1 Man Utd

1839: Manchester United have never lost a semi-final to Arsenal - that includes three FA Cup semis and a League Cup last-four clash. And in Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, they have two players who have won semis against the Gunners before.

From Matt, Broadstairs, via text on 81111: "First timer here! As a United fan we need an early goal like in the Liverpool game, but then have to keep pressing - not just sit back. Realistically I think Arsenal will get the away goal, but we will get the win."

1834: Manchester United always put on a show, don't they? Take Saturday, for example - 2-0 down at half-time at home to Spurs and in serious trouble, yet ending up emphatic 5-2 winners. Arsenal are in decent nick, too - they've gone 20 Premier League games unbeaten. Where, oh where, is your money?

From Magic8BaLL on 606: "Hopefully there will be a dodgy penalty, some X-rated challenges (no injuries of course) and a 22-man brawl. That should get Wenger and Fergie hating each other again; it's just not right seeing those two getting along."
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The sun is out

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Anticipation building already at a sunlit Old Trafford. Fans of both sides are already gathered in their numbers outside the ground and the Stretford End has a mosaic in place in the shape of three Champions League trophies, just to underscore Manchester United's superior record to Arsenal's in Europe's elite competition.

"Sir Alex Ferguson talks in his programme notes about his desire to make United the first club to mount a successful defence of the Champions League, saying: "Talk is cheap but faint heart never won fair lady and it's something I would dearly love to achieve."

"Arsenal stand in the way on what promises to be an epic occasion."

1825: Line-ups, I should imagine, will be on their way in the next 20 minutes or so. Can you wait? I'm not sure I can. For those of you missing Stevo's Predo already, here's a half-hearted attempt at pacifying you: I reckon Carlitos Tevez will start tonight.

1823: So, here we are. At the business end of another rollercoaster season, and yet again with a brace of English teams going head-to-head in the Champions League semis. The Premier League really is the best in the world, isn't it? Let's hope we can put on a show tonight.

1820: Predos are flying around on the texts and on 606, so far ranging from 0-0 to 6-2 to United. But here's my bombshell news: There will be no Stevo's Predo tonight. In the interests of partiality and - more importantly - not jinxing the game, I'm giving it a night off.

From Joe, Guildford, via text on 81111: "Both defences look reasonably shaky right now, I fancy a score draw."

From KloseButNoCigar on 606: "Having accurately predicted that Messi would be ineffectual yesterday, I'm going to say that Ronaldo will give a fantastic performance, proving that he still really is the best player in the world. If Arsenal score within the first 35 minutes we're going to see goals. If not, it could be a long evening."
Join the debate on 606

1809: If there's one thing I'd like to do before we start, it's just confirm what most of you know already - I'm a neutral, and as such will endeavour to bring you the chat from Old Trafford with as much balance as is humanly possible. Without getting too Alan Partridge on you, I'd like football to be the winner. Unlike last night.

1805: I'd very much place money on you wanting to get involved today, so here's how to do just that - and don't worry if you've never got stuck in before, because days like these are crying out for first-timers. You can send your texts to 81111, and there is a thread up and running on 606 which will welcome your comments with open arms. Ah, go on.
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1800: In the long, proud, illustrious history of football, Manchester United and Arsenal have never met in European competition.

In 105 minutes time, that remarkable fact will be consigned to the dustbin of the past.

A very, very warm welcome to the second Champions League semi-final.

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see also
Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal
29 Apr 09 |  Europe
Ferguson fires warning to Arsenal
29 Apr 09 |  Europe
Dixon on Man Utd v Arsenal
28 Apr 09 |  Europe

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