Arsenal play Manchester United on Thursday night, live on Amazon Prime, but will they give the fans what they want?
Manchester United take on Arsenal at Old Trafford in Thursday night’s 8.15pm kick-off.
Rather remarkably, given Arsenal’s start to the 21/22 season, Mikel Arteta’s men sit five points ahead of Manchester United going into the game.
That’s a far cry from the early days of the season when Arsenal were rooted to the bottom of the table with no points and no goals and Manchester United were being talked about as title challengers.
Arsenal and United have faced each other 234 times before Thursday match with United winning 99, Arsenal winning 85 and 50 draws.
In the Premier League alone there have been 58 meetings between the sides with Arsenal winning 16, United 24 and 18 draws. Only four of Arsenal’s wins in the Premier League gave come at Old Trafford, however, showing the magnitude of the task for Mikel Arteta’s men, despite the disarray United find themselves in.
Bookies tend to know how these things are going to go better than most and Paddy Power [not sponsored] have Arsenal at 13/5 and United 19/20. For those who don’t know odds, that makes United quite decent favourites for the game, almost three times more likely to win the match than Arsenal.
Arteta’s record against United, however, small though it is, is impressive.
He is unbeaten in three against United, winning two and drawing one. One of those wins even came at Old Trafford and United have not yet scored against one of his sides.
United will go into the game with Michael Carrick in charge, although Ralf Rangnick is no doubt offering advice in the spare minutes he has between filling out paperwork because of Brexit.
Martinelli to start: How Arsenal could line up vs Manchester United
Travelling to Old Trafford for a big game against Manchester United, let’s take a look at our Arsenal predicted lineup for Thursday.
The defeat to Liverpool was certainly disappointing, but it wasn’t hugely unexpected.
Everyone knows that Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea are some way ahead of the rest of the league right now, so you need more than a bit of luck to beat them.
Either side of that game, Arsenal have been winning matches against teams they really do need to beat to stay in contention for top four. Playing the likes of Watford or Newcastle United at home absolutely has to result in all three points.
So the real test of where Arsenal are comes in the form of a trip to Manchester United.
This isn’t a game Mikel Arteta’s side is guaranteed to lose, but nor is it one they’re expected to win. The performance and result will tell us something about the team.
Here’s our Arsenal predicted lineup to face Manchester United.
It’s going to be Aaron Ramsdale, barring injury. He added his sixth clean sheet in 10 Premier League games at the weekend, following a strong performance at Anfield despite the heavy defeat. Bernd Leno should be on the bench as usual.
Tavares has now played five league matches in a row, despite Tierney being available for the last three. Arteta stuck with him despite his mistake against Liverpool, and the summer signing rewarded that decision with an assist against Newcastle.
But Tierney is probably a better fit for the bigger games right now, and with three games in just over a week, it’s not a bad idea to rotate between the two from a fitness perspective.
Like Tavares, Lokonga didn’t have his best game against Liverpool, but he really bounced back in the win over Newcastle.
Given the tight turnaround, Arteta may need to look elsewhere for his wide option on the right. Gabriel Martinelli’s goal may have earned him the chance to make a start. Nicolas Pepe is also available, and we wouldn’t completely rule him out either.
Once again, it’s an experience thing, as the two of them have been here before and know this kind of game well.
Martin Odegaard and Lacazette are probably neck-and-neck in terms of their chances of starting games right now, so like with Tavares and Tierney, it may just come down to fitness rotation.