Who: Manchester United vs Arsenal
When: Monday, September 30th @ 03:00pm ET
Line: Manchester United +125 | Draw +260 | Arsenal +205
Just when it looked like Manchester United were getting back on track and even had the opportunity to go 3rd in the Premier League table, they crumbled down once again. This has been a recurring nightmare for far too many years now and a crucial clash against Arsenal on Monday night puts pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to prove himself.
In more ways than one, these teams are like two sides of the same coin. United have been strong defensively so far, keeping a few clean-sheets, but underwhelming going forward. On the other hand, Arsenal are scoring goals for fun, but conceding them equally hilariously.
United have statistically been unlucky with 13 expected points, but positive xPTS doesn’t win you matches! With Arsenal’s decisive attacking line looking well-synched, United must dig in deep and most importantly, take their chances to get back to winning ways.
Manchester United Predicted XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young, Matic, McTominay, Pereira, Pogba, James, Martial
Marcus Rashford limped off in the defeat to West Ham, as a groin strain is expected to rule him out for the game. Solskjaer said that he “hopes” Anthony Martial & Mason Greenwood should be back for selection, while Paul Pogba is nearing a return from his injury as well. Luke Shaw’s started training, but is yet to be fully fit to compete.
Arsenal Predicted XI
Leno, Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Torreira, Ceballos, Pepe, Aubameyang
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is set to miss the game after being sent off against Aston Villa, while Hector Bellerin & new-signing Kieran Tierney are yet to be fully fit to start their first Premier League game in such a high level. Alexandre Lacazette is still recovering from his ankle injury, as he’ll return sometime in October.
Manchester United vs Arsenal Match Preview
With only two wins in United’s last 12 Premier League matches, OGS finds himself in hot water with everyone involved at the club. Granted, the injuries haven’t helped, but his decision to sell off Romelu Lukaku or Alexis Sanchez without a replacement is proving costly.
The Red Devils are now desperately lacking a forward, with Rashford’s injury meaning only Martial or Greenwood are the options remaining. Ole hopes his French Duo of Martial & Pogba can tune up the band to get the job done against Arsenal.
They’ve already contributed towards 5 goals out of United’s 8 in the league this season, with Pogba being OGS’ only reliable creative link. United might not be the most relentless attacking side, but will take their chances against a broken Arsenal back-line.
As long as his best attackers are in line for selection, Ole must throttle his side to run at Arsenal with pace and trickery. Pogba will be crucial with his forward through-balls, while the pacy Daniel James must link well with Martial to penetrate through their unstable backline.
So Arsenal might be in trouble defensively, but there’s little doubting their attacking firepower. Unai Emery’s side showed great character to pull off the comeback win against Aston Villa on Sunday, despite being one man down. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s scored in every single game so far, he’ll look to continue his wondrous form at United’s expense.
Nicolas Pepe also opened his score-sheet, now starting to look the venomous winger they spent a club-record for. Matteo Guendouzi’s amplifying his future captaincy chances, driving the Gunners forward with his impeccable work-rate pressing the oppositions into submission.
However, the Gunners absolutely must solidify their back-line to survive an onslaught at Old Trafford. They’ve earned a bad reputation of being too easily penetrate, having allowed in the most number of shots in the league thanks to David Luiz and co’s foolishness.
Bernd Leno’s heroics in goal has saved Emery’s blushes so far. However, he must reorganize his defence to prevent being carved up easily or risk another embarrassment at Old Trafford, where the Gunners haven’t won a game since 2006!
So Arsenal at home in this distressful period probably isn’t something Solskjaer wants. Despite his side’s solid defensive shape, the Gunners attacking fire will take them out of their comfort zone.
As much as this game looks set to be an inevitable draw due to issues from both ends, I’ll go for a United win. Just because Arsenal’s weak defence could potentially award chances to United, which Martial and James won’t miss.