Arsenal v Manchester United: Former EPL giants to measure regression, progression
Arsenal ended the last decade on a low – losing four consecutive matches at home and languishing in 12th place on the English Premier League table while traditional rivals, Manchester United, are seeking a third consecutive league win that will take them closer to the Champions League places.
Mikel Arteta is another former player who returned to lead a former club just like his United counterpart, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but Arteta’s task is the harder one because the Gunners have fallen off their former perch, usurped by the likes of Leicester City, Wolves, and Tottenham.
Solskjaer has doubts about Paul Pogba’s fitness even though the Frenchman was missing from the travelling squad to Burnley. Scott McTominay continues to be a notable absentee.
Arsenal also have injury problems with Granit Xhaka, Sokratis, Gabriel Martinelli, Hector Bellerin, and Rob Holding needing last minute assessments.
Can Arsenal build on their opening 25 minutes against Chelsea or will United continue their progression? The Emirates has not been a happy hunting ground for United of late, having lost thrice to Arsenal in their last four visits but they have the better form going into this encounter.
Current Form: Arsenal [L-D-D-L-D]; Man. United [W-W-L-W-D]
Head to head
Mon 30/09/19 PRL Man. United 1 – 1 Arsenal
Sun 10/03/19 PRL Arsenal 2 – 0 Man. United
Fri 25/01/19 FAC Arsenal 1 – 3 Man. United
Wed 05/12/18 PRL Man. United 2 – 2 Arsenal
Sun 29/04/18 PRL Man. United 2 – 1 Arsenal
Three duels to watch
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang v Aaron Wan-Bissaka
If Arteta starts the same way he sent out his team against Chelsea, it will mean a collision between Arsenal’s captain and top scorer, Aubameyang, against the league’s top tackler in Wan-Bissaka.
Aubameyang will drift, shifting the point of attack from the flank and down the middle as he interchanges position with Alexandre Lacazette, which means Wan-Bissaka will need some help from Daniel James in ensuring they don’t go two against one.
Mesut Ozil v Fred
Ozil is on a redemptive path with Arsenal faithful and got a rousing ovation when subbed off against Chelsea. The World Cup winner was at the heart of all good things in the first half as the Gunners out-fought Chelsea.
Solskjaer will detail Fred as the watchdog to guide against letting the German have the time and space through which he normally wreaks havoc. Fred has largely improved on his showings in the red of United and looks like one of the first names on the team sheet as United try to gain ground on the top four.
Lucas Torreira v Andreas Pereira
Torreira was in Tigerish mode against Chelsea, covering the ground effortlessly and being the pivot of the midfield bite that Arsenal showed.
On the 2-0 win over Burnley, Pereira started in the No.10 role but was full of running and covering, laying on the first goal for Anthony Martial. The two will inevitably collide and the man who stops the other from operating at 100 per cent will have won a crucial duel in deciding the outcome of the match.
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