Manchester United host Arsenal on the 30th of September in a Premier League fixture at Old Trafford.
Both teams come into the game on the back of contrasting results in the Carabao Cup in mid-week.
While the Gunners dispatched Nottingham Forest’s challenge with ease, the Red Devils fumbled their way to an edgy victory over Rochdale in a penalty shootout.
The pair has also not given a great account of themselves in the league with both struggling to click into top gear.
However, on that front, Arsenal have fared minutely better as they find themselves in 4th spot as opposed to United, who are languishing in 8th.
Thus, the Red Devils might approach the game in a much more circumspect fashion than their southern rivals.
Throughout the early stages of the season, United have found it tough to impose themselves on games and provide a cutting edge in the offensive third. Inevitably, that has seen them enjoy possession for large parts of the game and yet, not troubling the opposition’s rear-guard.
However, with Arsenal in town, their possession stats could change and it might even act as a shot in the arm for the hosts.
Often famed for their ability to keep hold of the ball, the Gunners would want to control the tempo of the game with their passing. In turn, though, that could lead them to commit several men forward, hoping to breach a United defence line that has fared decently.Advertisement
Subsequently, the full-backs and the midfielders would try to make darts into the offensive third, leaving the likes of David Luiz and Sokratis exposed defensively.
And, that could be the most potent attacking weapon for the hosts, especially with the pace of Daniel James, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood to call upon.
Hence, one can envisage United scoring a goal on the break on Monday, due to a combination of their prowess on the counter-attack and Arsenal’s rather dismal defensive record.
Yet, one goal might not be enough for the Red Devils to ensure victory, especially with players of the ilk of Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turning out for the visitors.
The duo’s swift offensive movements and link-up play could cause United problems on the latter’s left flank, considering the defenders expected to feature on that side aren’t the quickest.
Moreover, Arsenal’s energy in midfield, courtesy the presence of Dani Ceballos, Matteo Guendouzi and potentially, Lucas Torreira could enable them to overrun United’s midfielders, thereby opening up another attacking avenue.
Thus, despite the Gunners boasting a plethora of defensive frailties, their conviction in the final third and the sheer number of offensive options they possess could tilt the encounter in their favour.
And, while United, buoyed by the home crowd, would be a tough nut to crack, one just reckons that Arsenal might be able to end their Old Trafford hoodoo on Monday.