Manchester United vs Arsenal Preview
Midweek Premier League games don’t get much bigger than this as Arsenal travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United. The Gunners are enjoying a run of spectacular form. They are on a 19 game unbeaten streak across all competitions. The latest of those games was the North London Derby which they won in fine fashion. The win put them back into the top four with 30 points.
Manchester United on the other hand have been struggling. They are winless in their last three league games. Over the weekend they rallied to overcome a two goal deficit against Southampton to earn a point. They are seventh on the table and have a goal difference of -1. By their usually lofty standards this is really substandard.
This game will be pivotal for both teams. Although it must be said it is a lot more for United and their manager Jose Mourinho. Both the players and the manager are under intense scrutiny. Andre Marriner will officiate this mammoth duel on Wednesday.
The hosts will be missing Alexis Sanchez who is confirmed to have picked up an “aggressive muscular injury” to his hamstring. He is set to be on the sidelines for a significant amount of time. Eric Bailly, Marcus Rashford and Matteo Darmian have all picked up minor injuries but are still in contention for a place in the squad. Swedish defender Victor Lindelof is also set to miss out on action till late December due to a hamstring injury.
Arsenal have no new players on the list of injured players except Mesut Ozil who reportedly missed out the North London Derby due to a back spasm. Coach Unai Emery is not sure about whether the German midfielder will feature against United.
Ones To Watch
The Red Devils will be relying upon their French stars Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial to deal a bit of damage to Arsenal. They will also look to David De Gea to keep their potent attack at bay. The Spanish shot stopper was immense in this very fixture last season.
The visitors can turn to Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to try and exploit United’s defense. The Gabonese striker has been sparkling of late and is also the league’s top scorer. He has scored with all of his last 10 shots on target. Defensively they can rely on Lucas Torreira who has endeared himself to the fans with his incredible tenacity and work rate. He also notched his first goal for the Gunners on the weekend.
Interesting Facts and Prediction
Arsenal and United go way back and there is a lot of interesting stuff to be noted about this game.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in all their league home games against Arsenal since September 2006. (8W,3D)
- This is the first time since 2002 that these two sides will meet in a midweek fixture.
- Arsenal have lost their last 3 midweek Premier League midweek games.
- Manchester United have conceded 23 goals in 14 games so far this season. They hadn’t conceded as many in 30 games last season.
- This will be the first time Mourinho and Emery will face each other outside La Liga in their managerial career. Mourinho has never lost against Emery so far (W4,D1).
The tensions are rising and anticipation is building as well. This game promises to be a pulsating affair. Considering recent form and the way the two teams have been functioning as units, one has to give Arsenal the edge in this game. The Gunners can certainly nick all three points away from home if they keep up their energy. United are by no means out of consideration. Their head-to-head record against Arsenal is solid and they will look to keep it going and relieve the stress on their shoulders as well.
Prediction: Manchester United 1-2
Photo credit to petr.pavel via Flickr