Thursday’s Premier League action concludes at Old Trafford with a blockbuster encounter between Manchester United and Arsenal.
Familiar foes are well past the barring-rights point, especially the Red Devils, who are fighting tooth and nail to get their stop-start Premier League campaign up and running.
A long-awaited win over bitter rivals in front of attending Old Trafford fans could be just what the doctor ordered as caretaker boss Michael Carrick hopes to maintain his unbeaten competitive record in interim charge (W1, D1).
While waiting for the impending interim manager Ralf Rangnick to obtain a work permit, it will be up to Carrick to find a formula to dig United out of an abysmal run of form.
Despite registering just one win in their last eight Premier League fixtures (D2, L5), the Red Devils are only five points off the top-four pace, which emphasises the importance of this match.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has set an example for other struggling Premier League managers to look up to, having masterminded one of the most sensational comebacks in recent years.
Only three months ago, the Spaniard was one of the most under-pressure bosses in England’s top-flight, with the Gunners the subject of mockery back in August.
Three months on, Arteta is enjoying complete trust from the club hierarchy and supporters, as Arsenal sit fifth in the Premier League table, level on points with fourth-placed West Ham United.
Coming into this matchday, the Londoners posted a straightforward 2-0 home win over rock-bottom Newcastle United to put a 4-0 thumping to Liverpool firmly behind them.
Manchester United vs Arsenal Head-to-Head
Since a 3-1 victory at the Emirates in December 2017 under Jose Mourinho, United have gone winless in their last six Premier League meetings with Arsenal (D3, L3).
The Gunners outscored United 1-0 at Old Trafford last season, putting themselves in a position to record back-to-back top-flight wins at this venue for the first time since February 1979.
Furthermore, Arsenal have kept the Red Devils at bay in their last three Premier League H2Hs and could make it four league clean sheets in a row against them for the first time in the club’s history.
Manchester United Preview
It’s been a while since United last won a Premier League home fixture, going winless in the last four on the bounce (D1, L3) since a 4-1 thrashing of Newcastle United in early September.
Despite boasting one of Europe’s sharpest forwards on their roster, the Red Devils have drawn a blank in three of their last four home league matches.
So synonymous with the red of Manchester, Cristiano Ronaldo has soaked up the limelight as United’s most prolific player this season with ten goals in all competitions.
However, for those in love with Fantasy Premier League, now could be the perfect time to think about bringing Jadon Sancho back to your line-ups.
Not only has he scored in his last two competitive appearances for United, but the Red Devils’ most expensive summer signing looks to be brimming with confidence following a stuttering start at Old Trafford.
With Sancho’s delightful flicks and tricks back on display, the 21-year-old winger seems to be enjoying his football again.
After starting this Premier League campaign with three defeats from three, Arsenal have hit the ground running, losing just one of their last ten league games (W7, D2).
Such a noticeable upturn in form has brought them on the cusp of the coveted Champions League places, but their away showings remain an issue.
Ahead of this matchday, only relegation-threatened Norwich City (two) have netted fewer Premier League goals on the road than Arsenal (three) this season.
Arteta’s men have failed to find the net in four of their six top-flight travels, and much of the blame has to be pinned on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabonese’s lacklustre away form has seen him yet to score on hostile turf this term, with each of his four league goals to date coming at the Emirates.
But before throwing Aubameyang out of your Fantasy Premier League equation, keep in mind that his last two away league goals have arrived at Old Trafford of all places.
Manchester United vs Arsenal Predicted Line-ups
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles; Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek; Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford; Cristiano Ronaldo.
Arsenal (4-4-1-1): Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel, Nuno Tavares; Gabriel Martinelli, Thomas Partey, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Emile Smith Rowe; Alexandre Lacazette; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
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