Santa is still pouring football viewers some gifts a day into the new year. Emirates is expected to host a fiery contest between two title contenders of the recent past struggling to get to their dominant best but with contrasting standings in the league table, Manchester United stand 5th while Arsenal stand 12th and playing under their second manager of the season. With Arsenal settling into the new dressing room under the young Arteta and United seem to be gluing well as shown in their recent performances, this fixture will again will live up to its well deserved reputation.
The fixture starts 8pm, 1st January GBT.
Solskjaer just confirmed the availability of Paul Pogba for the match which means he will feature at some point and this might be the Frenchman’s first start since the reverse fixture against Arsenal on 30th September. The United manager however loses Scott Mctominay with the recovery of long term injuries like Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu Mensah still nowhere in sight.
Mikel Arteta has a tight squad to choose from with Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Kieran Tierney all out with injuries. Hector Bellerin has made a full recovery back from injury while the club’s medical staff will assess Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli before the match.
United are the favorites entering the match with the young and athletic forward lining delivering good individual performances over the recent weaks. Martial and Rashford have scored 32 goals between them across competitions with the young Greenwood adding 10 goals of his own. The long awaited paul Pogba and the defensive partnership are United’s threshold strength.
Arsenal’s dismal form of 1 win from their last 5 games signifies the uphill task ahead of Mikel Arteta but the individual class of Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazzette and the young Gendousi and Nelson will remain a lethal threat throughout the match. United’s surprisingly good results against Manchester City and Tottenham and their recent form makes this match theirs to lose.
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Saka, Toerreira, Gendouzi, Ozil, Nelson, Aubameyang, Lacazzette
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Fred, James, Greenwood, Rashford, Martial.
Score prediction: United 2-1 Arsenal