Reds go in confident against Gunners

Reds go in confident against Gunners

Updated: 10 days, 14 hours, 14 minutes, 21 seconds ago


It’s been a while since an Arsenal versus Manchester United match was a top-of-the-table clash.

But when the two face off at Emirates Stadium in London today, it will be a match between log leaders and the third-placed team.

Not since the 2015/16 season have Arsenal spent more than the opening league match at the top of the table, but they have been no lower than second since the start of this season.

Despite their impressive form, many were expecting an eventual collapse, but as they go into today’s match, they have a five-point lead over perennial champions Manchester City, who have a game in hand. 

The home side has won six of its last seven league matches, drawing only against another rejuvenated side, Newcastle United, on January 3.

United’s form hasn’t been too shabby either. They have picked up maximum points from seven of their last eight matches, with a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace midweek being the only blemish on their record.

The Reds are the only side that’s managed to beat Arsenal this season, recording a 3-1 victory at Old Trafford at the beginning of September.

Not surprisingly, United coach Erik ten Hag thinks they can do it again.

Ten Hag said:

They [Arsenal] are on a great run and it’s up to us to beat that run, and we will do everything to achieve that. We know what to do. We have to be really good and we need a really good performance. If we do, then we have a good chance of getting a good result.

He went on to praise their opponents: “They deserve to be in the position they’re in now. They have a really good structure in the way they play and have a winning mentality and attitude in the team. That’s why they are top of the league.

“When we played them before, you could already see that the coaching style was working. You could see really good structures in the team and I think they have improved from the first half of the season. There is a really good spirit in the team.”

The Dutch coach will be without defensive midfielder Casemiro, who received a one-game suspension for a booking in the draw against Palace. But the Brazilian international might not be the only player he will be without for the trip to London.

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United are sweating over the availability of injured right-back Diogo Dalot and striker Anthony Martial, both of whom missed the game against Palace.

There could be some good news, though, with the return of Jadon Sancho, who has not played for United since October.

Ten Hag’s Arsenal counterpart, Mikel Arteta, will also be missing a player he expected to have after local rivals Chelsea snatched Ukrainian international winger Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee that could rise to £100 million (R1.8 billion).

There was some good news for Arteta, though, as he managed to lure attacker Leandro Trossard to the Emirates from Brighton – at a much cheaper £28 million. 

Arteta said he wanted the Belgian international, as he was looking for a versatile player.

He’s a player we have followed for a while now. The opportunity came and we had the necessity to have a player in the frontline who is versatile enough to play in different positions.

The Spaniard, who is widely credited with turning things around for the London club, said they had learnt from the earlier defeat against United.

There were some important lessons about that game and the reasons we lost it. In many moments, we were in total control of the day, but we know that’s one of the qualities of Manchester United – when you are in control of the match, the game gets away from you because they have so much individual talent, good organisation and many ways to create problems. We’ll have to be at our best to win.

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