Wednesday, April 17

Arsenal vs Manchester United: Preview

Arsenal welcome Manchester United to the Emirates Stadium in one of the defining rivalries of the Premier League era enters its new chapter.

The two sides in the table are separated by seven positions and 10 points. But it is ninth-placed Arsenal that heads into the game from the back of a victory, while Manchester United, second-placed, was left reeling by loss to Sheffield United.

Two former players who know more about this fixture’s past are now in the dugouts. And they will certainly insist that the new crop do justice to their predecessors. Arsenal crushed Southampton at St Mary’s, with talented teenager Bukayo Saka further enhancing his burgeoning popularity with another goal and assist.

The Gunners easily avenged their FA Cup exit at the hands of Southampton. That outcome lifted Arsenal to ninth in the standings. And the win continued a revival that catapulted them to the top of the form table. Only Manchester City in the last six games having earned more points. Arteta’s men had won just four of their first 14 league games this season, but now they have won five of their last six.

Whereas in the opening 14 games they have scored 12 goals, while the last six outings have produced 16 goals.

Solskjaer’s side will see a win or a draw make it 18 straight top-flight away unbeaten games going back more than a year. The feat is something Man United have never done in their illustrious history before. 20-time English champions have won more points and have scored more goals away from home than any other Premier League side this season. So they should not be faced with a trip to an Arsenal team with a distinctly average home record.

Nevertheless, after their 2-1 loss to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United in midweek, their morale would have no doubt taken a hit. The Blades upset all the odds of dealing a reality check to the title hopefuls.

Club captain Aubameyang could return for this game as because his mother was unwell, he missed the last two matches. Partey and Smith Rowe both came off against Southampton with mild muscle complaints and will be tested ahead of kickoff. They were involved in full traning. Martin Odegaard is available but may not be thrown straight into the starting lineup having just recently arrived.

Due to a leg injury, Kieran Tierney is also in question. He was also involved in the training. This match is likely to come too soon for Dani Ceballos and Pablo Mari, both of whom are supposed to be back in training in the coming days. No major injury concerns for Ole but Man United will check on the fitness of Eric Bailly. He was due to face Sheffield United but was forced to withdraw after picking up a knock in training.

Arsenal possible starting lineup: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Cedric; Thomas, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Lacazette

Manchester United possible starting lineup: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba; Cavani

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