Jose Mourinho may be putting Arsenal Manager, Unai Emery to another major test when the gunners visit the Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Emery’s men failed to make a statement against top clubs in the premier league this term when they lost to both Manchester City and Chelsea in the season opener and forced a draw against Liverpool. But the North London side proved worthy again last weekend, edging Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs by 4-2 in a controversial North London derby.
Manchester United have not done any better, losing 3-1 to Tottenham, sharing points with Sarri’s Chelsea and earning a colossal 3-1 loss to Manchester City.
Arsenal have enjoyed an eleven game winning run and Manchester United have not been very convincing as to whether they are a Top 4 candidate or not. The Gunners have 8 points better than the host, sitting fourth while the red devils are seventh on the log with 22 points
The Gunners lost in both legs in the 2017/2018 version of this tie scoring only once apiece, and if history must repeats itself, many have to consider the recent form of the gunners and the inconsistency in Mourinho’s performance in the EPL.
Jose has been more prolific in the champions league this season, but his Manchester side have not made any commanding statement in the EPL. United have not won a premier league match since beaten Bournemouth 2-1 on November 3. Since then, they have secured unapologetic draws against Crystal Palace and Southampton and lost fatally to Manchester City.
Having earned an important three points last weekend against Spurs, the gunners have the needed boost to go into this tie a potential victor. United have the opposite. But the red devils can draw confidence from their UCL victories at the Old ladies and against Young Boys which helped them secure a spot in the UCL Round of 16 with a game to spare.
December Rush Efffect
It’s going to be a long and busy month for premier league clubs. Seven EPL games in the bag, along with the last round of Champions league group stage matches to come. With these busy moments, managers are most likely forced to embrace rotation and give chance to players who have watched on from the bench. Jose Mourinho experimented Nemanja Matic as a centre back in the Southampton stalemate while Marcos Rojowatched on from the bench. We also saw Divock Origi come on from the bench to earn Jurgen Klopp a last minute victory at the Merseyside derby against Everton, after a long absence from the Liverpool line up. Despite the fact that we do not expect such turn of events in this crunch tie, the December rush may compelmanagers to make some adjustments to keep their key players fit for the remaining weeks of the league.
Being the visiting team, it could be assumed that it should be more of a safety approach for the gunners but Unai Emery isn’t always shy to play football, so we expect the gunners to come for a win. However, Jose Mourinho has often been accused of approaching many key games from the back foot. Earlier in the season, Paul Pogba once commented that United players should do more of attack especially when playing at home, a comment many tagged a critic of his manager. However, it is worthy to note that the red devils have often ended the game in a draw where the approach was on the back foot.
United may likely want to secure maximum points or avoid a defeat in the least; having known that an important clash awaits when they visit Anfield on Decemeber 16.
Arsenal is no different. The gunners have a Carabao Cup quarter final clash with Spurs on December 19 and will visit Anfield on December 29, in between; they will play two games (FA Cup and Europa League) outside the 7 EPL games scheduled for December.
No doubt, this is the best mid-week game to watch.
Verdict: Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal.
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