Man Utd preview: A enormous day in the prime 4 fight


Nowadays is a massive day. We face Manchester United at the Emirates in a game which will certainly have a important effect on our prime 4 probabilities, a single way or the other. Here’s the Premier League table as it stands suitable now:

For all the concentrate on today’s opposition, we also have to hold Chelsea in thoughts. They’re just a point behind us with a game in hand, but there’s absolutely nothing we can do that can have any impact on them so we have to hope they drop some points along the way. This afternoon’s game is all about taking points off a United side that will undoubtedly come into this game buoyed by their midweek European exploits, prepared to face an Arsenal side that as soon as once more have one thing to prove soon after a disappointing game against Rennes.

I assume Unai Emery will stick with a back 4, and if that is the case then it’ll be the central defensive partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis, and I suspect Sead Kolasinac will come in on the left. On the suitable, I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Shkodran Mustafi start out once more. His reluctance to play Ainsley Maitland-Niles there even in an emergency suggests he does not especially fancy the youngster in that position, so unless there’s a recall for Stephan Lichtsteiner – who hasn’t created the squad for the final two games in spite of getting match – he does not genuinely have any other selection.

With Lucas Torreira suspended, it’ll imply a midfield partnership of Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi, each of whom require to do a lot far better than they did in midweek. The former had a single of his frustratingly clumsy games and was fortunate not to get sent off for a stupid challenge late in the game even though the latter will hopefully understand a fast and really serious lesson from the Rennes game. Yes, he is a potentially extremely superior player, but he hasn’t created it but and had no enterprise strolling about the way he did on Thursday. It can come about to young players, so it is not the finish of the globe, but it is vital that he responds these days for the reason that a further functionality like that and we’ll be overrun in midfield.

I fancy Aaron Ramsey to come into the side ahead of Mesut Ozil, with Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan either side of the nicely rested Alexandre Lacazette. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had a couple of successive stinkers, and his face when he was taken off in the Europa League told its personal story. If we’d have Lacazette that evening he’d have been benched significantly earlier, but he’s an seasoned player who cannot sit about feeling sorry for himself – in particular at this point in the season. It will not be the initially time he’s had a fallow period, just a single purpose in his final seven games, but the man is a goalscorer and I suspect that this is a game in which we’re going to require that top quality from him.

Not for the initially time this season, Emery requires to elicit a reaction from his players, some of whom sound a bit down in the dumps soon after the defeat to Rennes. Speaking on Friday, he stated:

I want the players to aid me with massive constructive power. One particular player was worse than me, a lot more down than me, and I stated to him ‘let’s speak tomorrow as you are a lot more sad than me’.

I want to listen to players with constructive power. I want to hear them say: ‘We can do it on Sunday.’

Our massive games at dwelling this season have a lot more or much less been constructive. Leaving aside the opening day defeat to Man City, we’ve beaten Sp*rs and Chelsea, drawn with Liverpool, and now we face a United side in the Premier League obtaining lost to them at the Emirates in the FA Cup in January. We’ve also normally responded really properly to setbacks, and the defeat in midweek was absolutely that. On prime of the derby game the prior weekend we genuinely need to have won, the wind has been taken out of our sails a small bit, so it is important that we get a outcome these days.

We know what an remarkable bounce they’ve had because the departure of Mourinho and the appointment of Solskjaer, so there’s no query these days is going to be challenging. They’re a massive club with higher top quality players who will punish us if we make errors, and defensive lapses have been a function of Arsenal’s performances all through this season. Hopefully we can hold these to a minimum and guarantee we’re effective with the probabilities we make at the other finish. With Sp*rs losing yesterday, 3 points for us will drag them suitable back into this prime 4 scrap as well. A 3-way battle for a single spot will develop into a 4-way fight for two, and that tends to make for far better odds.

I’m all at as soon as hopeful, optimistic, nervous and fatalistic, but that is football – a lot more precisely, that is Arsenal – but let’s hope these players can generate when it matters, for the reason that these days is so, so vital. It is our final league action for about 3 weeks for the reason that of the Interlull, so taking 3 points would guarantee that break is not a single filled with introspection and navel-gazing, not to mention the constructive effect it’d have on the table and our probabilities of Champions League football subsequent season.

Come on you reds.

As ever, you can adhere to the game on the reside weblog which will have text commentary, purpose clips and chat. Bookmark our default reside weblog web page, or verify back later for a post with all the information you require. We’ll have a match report, player rating, stats and all the reaction on Arseblog News later on as well.

Till then, take it effortless and I’ll catch you for the game.