The Gunners travel to Greater Manchester on Sunday for the United vs Arsenal game as Old Trafford hosts the 182nd league fixture between the two sides. Both teams ride on the back of wins in European competitions – Arsenal comfortably beat Dundalk FC 3-0 while United whipped RB Leipzig 5-0.
In the Premier League, the games Arsenal have lost so far this season were quite tight and eventually, it came down to isolated moments where the side lost focus and concentration, like the game against Leicester City. If luck had been on Arteta’s side, the outcome may have been extremely different, but it’s those fine margins at this level that define success or failure. At the end of the day, Arsenal have dropped 9 points and are in desperate need of a win.
A draw is no good here, against an old foe, that has suffered a similar fate in recent years. Both needed rebuilding and reshaping if they were to compete at the highest level and at this moment in time, neither side stands out.
Manchester United have managed a series of eye-catching wins against the likes of Newcastle, PSG, and RB Leipzig, which have resulted in 11 goals, so they have the firepower against a weakened and injury-ravaged Arsenal side.
However, let’s not forget that Spurs netted six times against them and that the United defence can implode under significant pressure and that if Arsenal find the right gear, Solskjaer’s side could have an uncomfortable home game. That’s the question here in this United vs Arsenal fixture, which one of these two former Premier League giants is going to seize the moment?
Both have attacks capable of clocking up goals, but both are fairly brittle at the back. Arsenal are in the middle of their yearly crisis in defence and without Mari, Holding, and Luiz, it could be difficult. Gabriel picks himself and Tierney and Bellerin will surely play a part, but does that mean a back four this time around? Probably not.
William Saliba could be the answer here because Mustafi and Kolasinac aren’t built for this type of contest at a crucial point in the season. The Arsenal faithful are itching to see Saliba play alongside Gabriel and it appears that Arteta has few options left open to him, with so many key players still short of fitness.
Arteta also has other issues to consider, does he stick with Lacazette or bring in Nketiah? Does he stick with Pepe or Willian or include Nelson, who acquitted himself well against Dundalk. The United vs Arsenal fixture is a high stakes game where nothing can be left to chance, yet fate may play a part due to injuries. United are without Alex Telles, Eric Bailly, and Jesse Lingard.
Thomas Partey gets another chance to own midfield and settle into the side with Aubameyang returning and a toss-up between Nelson, Saka, Willian, and Pepe. I’m starting to think we need to lighten the load on the attacking flanks with Martinelli returning soon because there simply aren’t enough games to keep everyone happy.
Anyway, the United vs Arsenal game is going to be a bruising contest that no one wants to lose and could once again be decided in a single goal. The draw is the most likely outcome, but I’m going to chance my arm and go with a hard-fought 1-0 Arsenal win.
Preferred Team Against Manchester United:
Leno; Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Xhaka, Partey, Saka; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
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