Two of the biggest teams in the Premier League go head-to-head when Manchester United travel to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal.
Previously, this fixture has provided many entertaining and title defining results, where either side challenged for supremacy in the league. However, since Chelsea and Man City have had the financial power to back them, the challenge for the title race has made it ever so competitive and all teams are trying to win the league. This fixture does have some bearing into the league standings as United are top of the league and Arsenal sit in fourth.
The United fans are ecstatic to see the club sitting at the top of the league since Sir Alex Ferguson won the title. This shows the amount of improvement made through Van Gaal and his coaching staff who have had a lot of comments thrown at them for their philosophy and style of playing football. The Red Devil’s will be looking to make it five wins in all competitions and having picked up a win in midweek in the Champions League, the club is moving in the right direction and gradually peaking in the level of performances.
On the other bench is Arsene Wenger, whose side suffered a defeat in the Champions League but did manage to beat Leicester City on the weekend with star player Sanchez bagging a hat trick. Every season the Gunner’s are hoping to challenge for the title but their ambitions are quickly dimensioned when most their fans are part taking in social media polls when results do not go their way. They have won the FA Cup twice and they have the quality in the squad to go for the title. Considering, the only addition to the squad in the summer was Cech, you can see the fans frustration of the club not splashing the cash which is available to add experience players to go a step further.
United welcome back Carrick in midfield after missing the game in midweek. Herrera remains a doubt and there is no update on Rojo’s fitness. However, there are concerns over fatigue amongst some of the players and there could be changes in the line-up. Striker Giroud is available for Arsene after being suspended for Champions League. Flamini and Arteta are not fully fit. Missing out will be Wilshere, Welbeck and Rosicky. Also defender Koscienly is sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Mata has been in some form lately by scoring and assisting. He deserves a starting place and after that fancy flick for Smalling to latch onto, he looks to continue to strive in the form he is in. Fatigue has been mentioned in the United dressing room and it was evident in the game against Wolfsburg, where players were slow to react and creating space to be vulnerable. That is something Arsenal will be good at in terms of attacking the United defence. If they are quick up top in the final third, then it will cause havoc for Smalling and Blind. Valencia was not having the best of games at right back and Young has been a very good squad player that fills in at any position. It would be best to see Darmian at right back and Young at left back. Schweinsteiger and Memphis were substituted and look to keep their starting place.
Once again, Martial is continuing to win over the fans with his displays. There will be a question mark hanging over him if he can produce the same against the big teams especially getting a goal against Liverpool. Schneiderlin and Fellaini could be used as subs depending on how the game plans out. There is only one player to watch out for and that is Sanchez, who is returning back to form and he can strike a ball from range as well as skipping past defenders. As you would expect, both teams will be eager to earn a win as Arsenal could end up joint with United and for United, it could strengthen their hopes to extend their lead at the top.
Possible starting XI:
Arsenal; Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Cazorla, Coeq, Sanchez, Ramsey, Ozil, Giroud.
Man Utd; De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Young, Carrick, Schweinsteiger, Mata, Rooney, Memphis, Martial.