Arsenal will look to regain the eight-point advantage at the top when they face Manchester United, who want to close the gap to the Gunners.

The Emirates braces itself for a mammoth clash between Arsenal and Manchester United. Mikel Arteta is eager to regain their eight-point advantage his team before the midweek fixture involving Manchester City, who beat Tottenham.

The Gunners come into this clash in flying form after beating bitter rivals Tottenham last weekend. An own goal from Spurs captain Hugo Lloris and a stunning strike from Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard sealed the points. The win extended their advantage to eight points after Manchester City lost in the Manchester Derby.

The recent arrival of Leandro Trossard will boost Arteta’s squad options, which needed more depth in the attacking department. It will be a crucial factor against Manchester United, as Arsenal seeks revenge for the loss at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

As things stand, Manchester United are the only team to beat Arsenal this season, and Erik ten Hag will hope for a repeat performance from October. The Dutch manager might have wanted this clash at the Emirates to be a top-of-the-table affair. But his team dropped points in midweek against Crystal Palace.

They were on the cusp of a narrow 1-0 win before Michael Olise stepped up in injury time to score from a brilliant free kick. Additionally, key midfielder Casemiro picked up a costly yellow card late in the game that will see him miss the Emirates clash.

As ten Hag pointed out, Manchester United beat Arsenal without the Brazilian and may have to do so again. But the Gunners are much different and more robust than the team that visited Old Trafford, despite missing their talisman Gabriel Jesus. A win here would bring Manchester United closer to Arteta’s team, while a defeat would surely spell the end of their slim hopes of a title challenge.

Team News & Tactics

Arsenal

Arsenal do not have any fresh injury concerns, and Mikel Arteta is likely to name an unchanged lineup from the North London Derby. Gabriel Jesus will remain on the sidelines for the foreseeable future with a knee injury, while Reiss Nelson is also out of action.

There are also concerns about Mohamed Elneny’s status after the midfielder picked up a knee problem on the eve of the NLD. A late assessment will determine his presence in the matchday squad, but at this moment, it looks unlikely.

Arteta will pick his strongest lineup, which essentially picks itself at this stage of the season. Moreover, Arsenal managed to register their new arrival, Trossard, on time for this weekend’s action. Hence he will feature on the substitutes bench.

Unlike the clash at Old Trafford, Arteta will have Thomas Partey for this game, with the midfielder proving his importance throughout the campaign. In the attack, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will continue supporting Eddie Nketiah, with Odegaard providing the ammunition from slightly behind.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Nketiah

Manchester United

The loss of Casemiro to suspension was a big blow for Manchester United. Erik ten Hag might implement his plan B for midfield, which may involve a Fred-Christian Eriksen partnership. The two can be effective, and they are the potential solution to playing Scott McTominay centrally.

Diogo Dalot and Anthony Martial are huge doubts for the Emirates trip. When ten Hag spoke to the press on Wednesday, he insisted the duo will go through an assessment. But so far, there is nothing to suggest they might regain fitness. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will thus continue at right-back regardless of the Portuguese’s availability.

Ten Hag will continue with the same back four with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane in central defence, with Luke Shaw at left-back. Fred will replace Casemiro in midfield and likely have Eriksen’s company.

Marcus Rashford will headline the Manchester United attack, with Bruno Fernandes playing the advanced midfield role between the two wingers. Antony should get the not on the right side, while Wout Weghorst will make his second start since arriving on loan.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Eriksen, Fred; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst

Key Stats

  • Arsenal have conceded just 14 goals after 18 Premier League matches. The last time they had conceded fewer at this stage was 2003/04 (12)
  • Arsenal have won five and lost just one of the last seven Premier League meetings with Man Utd at the Emirates.
  • Arsenal have a positive goal difference of +28. It is their best ever after 18 games of a Premier League season.
  • Manchester United are unbeaten in ten games across all competitions, including their last 6 in the Premier League.
  • Manchester United have scored in each last ten Premier League games, but they have only one clean sheet away from home this term.

Player to Watch

Thomas Partey

Embed from Getty Images

The Ghanaian midfielder has proven his worth in this Arsenal team despite his performances going under the radar on most occasions. Incidentally, the Gunners lost the only game he did not feature in this season, which ironically came against Manchester United in October.

Thomas Partey’s importance in Arteta’s system is immeasurable, as he provides the perfect bridge between attack and defence. Given he is available and fit to feature, and Casemiro is not, the Partey is expected to become the man to watch out for as he is vital for the Gunners to gain a foothold in the game.

Prediction

Arsenal 3-1 Manchester United

Games of this magnitude often have their difficulties with accurate predictions. The fact that both teams are in top form makes it even more challenging. But Arsenal may have the upper hand due to the momentum they are carrying. Moreover, Mikel Arteta’s side has shown no signs of slipping up and seem like a well-drilled unit.

Manchester United have recently struggled at the Emirates. They might come into this game at the back of a ten-game unbeaten run. But the Gunners still have the upper hand with their form. Arteta will set out his team as he has against big teams this season, which has yielded positive results. Against the Red Devils, Arsenal remain favourites to take all three points and may do so convincingly.

Comments 4

  1. Erupu alfred says:

    For the gunners to win this game they should cooperate starting from coach , players and up to fans

  2. Erupu alfred says:

    Man utd should play harry maguire in the centre back to avoid arsenal upfront from penetrating their defence…..

  3. Kasirye frank says:

    United to make history at emirates 🏟️ again 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  4. Simon says:

    MAN UTD 2-0 ARSENAL.
    No nonsense, we shall win. Forget about that foolish prediction. Remember the first leg these people also predicted arsenal to win.

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