Arsenal v Man Utd, a fixture which used to bring out the best and sometimes the worst of both sets of players. It’s probably wrong of me to confess but I loved watching it but I know, sometimes certain individuals went too far.
These days, this fixture hasn’t been quite as feisty but as I suggested a few weeks ago, I’ve a feeling that the fight for the Premier League title will soon be between these two clubs again. Both ten Hag and Mikel Arteta are building for the future, albeit Mikel Arteta is a couple of seasons ahead.
Gary Neville reckons his old club are the real deal right now, probably because of their results but as any football fan will know, results can be deceiving. Since the return of domestic football after the World Cup, Utd haven’t lost. But who have they played? Wolves, Nottingham Forest, Crystal Palace and Burnley. Man City too but needed help from the officials to open the scoring.
Arsenal haven’t been beaten during that same time frame either, having played Brighton, Totts, West Ham and Newcastle Utd. Tougher opposition I think but, points are points however one chooses to look at things.
As far as absentees go, Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson remain out for Arsenal whilst Utd are missing Casemiro and possibly Anthony Martial and Diogo Dalot.
Top of the League versus 4th place, both clubs hoping to pull off what would in my opinion, be a surprise Premier League winning season. Arsenal are currently five points and a game in hand ahead of Man City, eight points and a game in hand over todays opposition.
Ten Hag reckons he has a plan on how to beat Arsenal:
We have a plan. I think we have a good plan, like against Manchester City, sometimes you have to surprise the opponent. We spoke about it, have given the instructions, trained it, now we have to deliver.
I think [Ten Hag] turned things around pretty quickly. He has implemented a very clear way of playing. I think the players seem like they’ve bought into it, they have really good energy around the place. And a lot of things have changed in a very short period of time so credit to him and the coaching staff for what they’ve done. When you look at the squad that they have, it’s just incredible. The individuals and the collective organisation can beat any opponent in this league.
That’s English football I think. Any team can beat any other on their day.
I’ve not watched much of Man Utd this season but Casemiro is going to be a huge loss for them, just like Thomas Partey is always a huge loss for Arsenal when he’s been absent. Like at Old Trafford earlier in the season. A few things went wrong that day, from an early Arsenal goal being disallowed, a clear penalty not given against Martinez, through to a number of what proved to be, questionable substitutions made by Mikel Arteta. We’d not long brought the scores level when we lost shape and discipline and subsequently got caught out on the break. Twice. I very much doubt we’ll see two of the three again today.
New signing Leandro Trossard is likely to be on the bench, ESR is back fit and ready and with the likes of Fabio Vieira, Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu in the squad, we’re looking good. We’re a bit short up front with Gabriel Jesus missing but I read Trossard say that he is composed in front of goal so who knows, we might just see him play centrally if needs become a must.
Anthony Taylor is the referee for today’s fixture, with fourth official Andre Marriner and Michael Salisbury and Dan Robathan on VAR duty. Let’s hope for fairness and consistency from them all today.
Enjoy the game guys, it should be a cracker.
“Jakub will sign on Monday/Tuesday for Arsenal — he will be in VIP Box for the game vs United”. pic.twitter.com/Qjf5BCJm73
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 22, 2023
Keep an eye out for Arsenal’s second signing of the month.
See you in the comments.