Manchester United and Arsenal bring together one of the oldest traditional rivalries in the English Premier League. The two clubs have gone south in the last five years, but when the sides meet in the midweek at Old Trafford, the flares are set to rekindle.
United start the game seventh in the standings (W6, D4, L4) and are without a win in their last three matches, losing one and drawing two. They have struggled at both ends and only five clubs have conceded more than United (23) in the Premier League this season.
Manager Jose Mourinho will be under pressure considering the injuries to his main defenders and the suspension of Ashley Young. That leaves United short of players, to go with a reported rift between Mourinho and his star mid-fielder Paul Pogba. Don’t be surprised if United throw midfielders Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic to deputise as defenders.
Arsenal have no such worries and are in the middle of a 19-match unbeaten streak in all competitions (W15, D4). The Gunners have the second-best attack in the league with 32 goals and have frequently been among the goals.
Manager Unai Emery has shown the technical adeptness to tweak his side midway through the game against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend and pick up a 4-2 come-from-behind win. The only headache for Emery is team selection, where Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette will be pushing for starts.
Manchester United have not lost at Old Trafford in the Premier League to Arsenal since 2006. Though Arsenal won here recently in the FA Cup in 2015, this is a hoodoo that they were unable to break so far. This game represents their best chance.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has ten goals this season and has been consistently scoring goals, keeping even Lacazette out of the playing XI. With United facing a defensive crisis, he could be looking at bagging more goals.
Aaron Ramsey had a game-changing impact as a substitute against Tottenham, providing two assists. The Welsh mid-fielder could get a starting spot and a chance to exploit the weak left wing-back of United.
Romelu Lukaku has five goals to his name this Premier League season, but has been struggling for impact in the recent matches. The goal against Southampton last weekend should bring a change in his game, which makes him an underdog pick for your fantasy team.
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Manchester United (probable XI): 1 David de Gea 2 Marcus Rojo 3 Nemanja Matic 4 Chris Smalling 5 Diogo Dalot 6 Marouane Fellaini 7 Ander Herrera 8 Juan Mata 9 Anthony Martial 10 Romelu Lukaku 11 Jesse Lingard
Arsenal (probable XI): 1 Bernd Leno 2 Hector Bellerin 3 Shkodran Mustafi 4 Sokratis 5 Rob Holding 6 Sead Kolasinac 7 Lucas Torreira 8 Matteo Guendouzi 9 Aaron Ramsey 10 Alexandre Lacazette 11 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang