Arsenal will be looking for their first win under new manager Mikel Arteta when they host arch-rivals Manchester United at the Emirates on New Year’s Day.
Premier League action resumes on Wednesday as teams look to kick off the New Year with a winning momentum. The day will end with a blockbuster of a clash with Arsenal taking on bitter rivals Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in search of their first win under new boss Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal find themselves in the twelfth spot in the Premier League table, eleven points off the top four. The Gunners haven’t won even once in their last five matches in all competitions, with their most recent fixture in the league ending in a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Mikel Arteta has been in charge of two fixtures now, drawing one and losing one each. The Spaniard will be hoping to get one in the win column on Wednesday night and kickstart a run of positive results that will get Arsenal’s season back on track.
Manchester United go into the game just four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, having bounced back strongly from their away defeat to Watford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have taken down Newcastle United and Burnley in their last two matches and will be keen on carrying that momentum forward at the Emirates.
The reverse fixture this season at Old Trafford ended in a 1-1 draw, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang coming to Arsenal’s rescue after Scott McTominay had put Manchester United in front. And ahead of their latest meeting on Wednesday, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Arsenal have been dealt with a fresh blow as Calum Chambers hobbled off the field against Chelsea with a serious-looking knee injury and is ruled out for the Manchester United clash. He joins fellow defenders Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac on the treatment tables.
Hector Bellerin remains a doubt for the game as he steps up his recovery from a thigh problem. Granit Xhaka missed the Chelsea game due to illness, but could be involved on Wednesday having trained ahead of the game, while Rob Holding and Dani Ceballos are back in full training, as is Gabriel Martinelli.
There are unlikely to be a host of changes to the side that started against Chelsea. Bernd Leno will continue in goal and look to redeem himself for the error that allowed the Blues a chance to come back in the last game. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka ought to continue as the two full-backs once again.
Shkodran Mustafi, who replaced the injured Chambers in the last match, should get the nod here alongside David Luiz at the heart of the Arsenal defence. Back in training, Xhaka ought to replace Matteo Guendouzi alongside Lucas Torreira in the midfield double pivot, with Mesut Ozil continuing in the No. 10 role.
Reiss Nelson should once again start on the right flank ahead of Nicolas Pepe, while Martinelli is likely to come into the team at the expense of Alexandre Lacazette. The summer arrival will slot in on the left flank, allowing club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to move into a central role against Manchester United.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Luiz, Saka; Torreira, Xhaka; Nelson, Ozil, Martinelli; Aubameyang
Paul Pogba made substitute appearances against Watford and Newcastle after a three-month long layoff, but missed the Burnley game and hasn’t travelled with the squad for Wednesday’s fixture either. Midfield mainstay Scott McTominay remains injured alongside fellow academy product Axel Tuanzebe.
Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are still some way away from being able to return to action, whereas Marcos Rojo is also unlikely to be involved, as he looks to secure a January exit from the club.
David de Gea kept a Premier League clean sheet after a long wait in the last game and will want to build on that display against Arsenal. There will be two changes in defence as Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw are set to return in the full-back slots, while Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire continue to feature at the heart of the Manchester United defence.
With Pogba not travelling and McTominay still injured, Fred will once again be partnered with Nemanja Matic in the midfield double pivot, with the Serb impressing on a rare start against Burnley last time out. Andreas Pereira put in one of his better performances of the season in the last game and ought to continue in the No. 10 role against Arsenal.
Mason Greenwood has been staking a claim for regular playing time, having made an excellent impression every time he has been given an opportunity. However, Solskjaer is likely to stick with the terrific trio of Daniel James, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial once again on Wednesday.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Matic; James, Pereira, Rashford; Martial
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last three Premier League meetings against Manchester United (W1 D2). They have not gone four without defeat against the Red Devils since February 1999 (W3 D1).
- Manchester United have lost three of their last four away Premier League games against Arsenal (W1), as many as they had in their previous 13 trips to the Emirates/Highbury in the competition (W4 D6 L3).
- This is the third top-flight meeting between Arsenal and Manchester United on New Year’s Day, with the Red Devils winning 2-0 in both previous such games (1912 and 1949).
- Manchester United haven’t won three consecutive Premier League games since a run of six in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first six games in charge.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the reverse fixture this season, as well as netting in this exact fixture last term. The last Arsenal player to score in three successive Premier League games against the Red Devils was Thierry Henry in November 2001.
Player to Watch
The Manchester United forward has been in excellent form of late and has been one of the chief driving forces for Solskjaer’s side this season. Rashford is enjoying the best campaign of his career, having already netted 16 goals and set up five more in 26 matches across all competitions.
Rashford has been directly involved in 16 goals in 20 Premier League matches this term, but the Manchester United striker hasn’t scored against Arsenal in his last seven league appearances, after having bagged a double on his Premier League debut. He will be hoping to end that run on Wednesday night and fire Manchester United to a crucial victory at the Emirates.
Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United
Arsenal have been struggling to rack up wins of late, which has seen them slide into the bottom half of the table. Manchester United, on the other hand, despite lacking consistency, sit fifth in the table and have momentum on their side heading into Wednesday’s game.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have done well against the big teams this term and given that Arsenal will look to take the game to them at the Emirates, the Red Devils will have plenty of opportunities to hit them on the counter using their attackers’ pace, at which they excel. And that is why, we at The Hard Tackle are predicting them to clinch a 2-1 win on Wednesday.