Arsene Wenger prepares for his last ever visit to Old Trafford as Arsenal manager and will be hoping to beat Manchester United and Jose Mourinho one last time.
Manchester United are in the FA Cup Final and are also in the process of cementing a second-placed finish in the Premier League. Arsenal, on the other hand, are seemingly out of the race for a top-four place but are still in contention in the Europa League despite a dramatic 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid during midweek.
It would be natural to understand that Arsenal’s focus will be on the Europa League second leg in midweek, but Arsene Wenger will want to bow out at Old Trafford with a win against his arch-rival, both the club and Jose Mourinho. It is likely that the Frenchman would name a strong line-up in spite of their crucial game during midweek.
The big news for Arsenal, however, is that former Manchester United star, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is available again after spending time on the sidelines since injuring against CSKA. His availability gives Wenger more options and could rest one of the front three players that started in midweek.
Otherwise, everyone else apart from Mohamed Elneny is available for the trip to Old Trafford. The Egyptian could miss the rest of the season after a collision with Mark Noble in Arsenal’s game against West Ham United last weekend.
Petr Cech could come back in goal after David Ospina started against Atletico Madrid in midweek. Cech had been out injured a while, but his timely return could give Wenger a selection dilemma. There could, however, be hints as to who could start in midweek depending on who starts against Manchester United.
Arsene Wenger is likely to make significant changes to Arsenal’s backline keeping the Europa League tie in mind, although not entirely. Bellerin and Mustafi are likely to be retained in the side with Chambers and Kolasinac coming in for Koscielny and Monreal against Manchester United.
The absence of Elneny will likely mean Arsenal will start with the same midfield trio of Xhaka, Ramsey and Wilshere. Although if Wenger does decide to make changes regarding keeping players fresh, he could replace Ramsey with Ainsley Maitland-Niles in midfield.
Arsene Wenger confirmed Mkhitaryan’s availability during his team news update, “We have no new problems. Mkhitaryan is available.”
It’s still doubtful if the Armenian would start, but if he does, Danny Welbeck or Alexandre Lacazette could be benched as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will start up-front. But the attacking players who will be benched and be in contention for the Atletico game will play some part against United to acquire some playing time.