|Cristiano Ronaldo and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang are two players that can determine the end result of the fixture at Old Trafford on Thursday, who will come to the party? (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Manchester United vs Arsenal
Old Trafford Stadium
It’s a fixture of huge significance, Manchester United must win to close the gap on the top four at least before aiming for the title, and with Westham dropping points against Brighton on Wednesday, Arsenal could go 4th, it would be huge for a team that was condemned after three rounds.
Manchester United will not have the luxury of having their new manager Ralf Rangnick in the dugout following his appointment as interim manager till the end of the season due to paper work challenges but Michael Carrick is up to the task if his two results can be referenced.
Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-0 over the weekend to continue their good run, the loss to Liverpool was the right reality check needed to guide them back to planet earth and they for sure know what is at stake should they manage to get a win at Old Trafford on Thursday.
What has changed about Arsenal? Last season they were terrible going forward, they struggled to get goals and couldn’t create chances but they have fixed that this season in a way although putting chances away is another problem.
How can Manchester United impose themselves so early in the game? Depends largely on who the manager calls on with Cristiano Ronaldo left out of the starting line up last time out against Chelsea, would he start against the Gunners?
Carrick’s tactics against Chelsea was spot on as it took a late penalty to the Blues to draw level, but United might see Arsenal in lesser lights and opt to have a go at them from the start as opposed to pulling the handbrake.
Can Arsenal get a win at Old Trafford on Thursday? Impossibility is nothing considering they won away at United last season even with a lesser squad quality, they first must believe and then work hard to close gaps and make lesser mistakes.
United must be daring here, they can’t afford to fall further off the top four race as they currently sit six points off, a loss to Arsenal will make that eight points and that might be too much a ask in a season that promises to be too close to call.
A look at recent history shows a rare gulf between the two teams and the advantage is against United, in fact United have only scored once against the Gunners in the last five attempts and that was in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford a little over two years ago.
It's a game of who wants it more, both have the potential to win this one and a draw will only suit Arsenal; United will be able to call on their returning skipper Harry Maguire after serving his match ban but Arsenal need to check on the availability of their star boy Bukayo Saka.