The historic Premier League giants are set to clash at The Emirates Stadium on Sunday in a fixture where both Arsenal and Manchester United will be hoping to secure all 3 points as well as bragging rights over their archnemesis.
The famed English clubs have struggled in their recent past to replicate their peak historic standards and securing silverware. However, the 2022-23 campaign saw both sides have a strong season where Arsenal emerged as title-contenders and the Red Devils secured a Champions League spot in addition to winning the Carabao Cup.
The current 2023-24 campaign has seen a reignited belief and determination in both club’s fans as they hope to make a statement that they still belong at the top. Sunday’s clash in North London would certainly prove to be a game worth watching.
When & Where:
Date: 3rd September 2023.
Time: 09:00 PM (IST).
Venue: The Emirates Stadium.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Assistants: Gary Beswick, Lee Betts.
Fourth Officials: Darren Bond.
VAR: Jarred Gillett.
Assistant VAR: Simon Bennett.
Jurrien Timber and Mohamed Elneny remain unavailable for Mikel Arteta’s side as they continue to recover from their injury woes. Following last week’s game at The Emirates against Fulham, reports emerged claiming Eddie Nketiah picked up a minor knee injury. However, with no statements by the club or additional reports we can assume that the striker is fit and available for selection against United.
Gabriel Jesus’s introduction from the bench in the closing minutes against Fulham provided a breath of much needed relief to Arsenal fans as the striker featued for the first time in the 2023-24 league campaign following a knee injury picked up in pre-season.
On the other hand Erik Ten Hag will have a lot more to worry about in addition to his side’s form as the growing list of injured players keeps getting longer. The new number 7 Mason Mount remains on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. The club further confirmed that following last week’s clash against Nottingham Forest, Raphael Varane will be out for a few weeks as he joins Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia as defensive absentees.
Kobbie Mainoo and Amad Diallo miss out as well as both the midfielders picked up injuries in United’s pre-season. On a brighter note, it looks increasingly likely that new-signing Rasmus Hojlund will be fit after recovering from his back injury to make his Premier League debut at The Emirates.
Both sides would be hoping to leave with a victory after an underwhelming start to the league campaign despite being active in the transfer market. The Gunners sit 3 places and one point above United in the league table following single-goal margin victories over Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace as well as a 2-2 draw against Fulham last week. Mikel Arteta has been actively experimenting with his starting XI and their match tactics which has come under a bit of scrutiny.
After ditching the 4-3-3 that worked wonders for his side last season, the opening 3 league fixtures have seen an Arsenal side with 3 center-backs with the exclusion of Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey as an inverted right-back who ventures in the midfield alongside Declan Rice to his left. This new approach hasn’t significantly yielded any favours for the Gunners as they have looked sloppy at times with lost possession and elusive fluidity.
We can expect-and the fans are definitely hoping that the side returns to 4 at the back with Ben White at the right, Gabriel and Saliba partnering in the center and Zinchenko getting his first start of the season at left-back. Furthermore, despite having 2 decent opening games for his new club and particularly excelling in his off the ball movements, Kai Havertz has struggled to connect with his teammates and maybe dropped against United in favour of a Rice-Partey-Odegaard trio in midfield.
With Gabriel Jesus getting closer to reclaiming his spot up-front, the Brazilian still may not be a 100% match-fit and Eddie Nketiah could be offered the spot in the XI. With 2 goals scored and securing a match-winning penalty against Palace, the number 14 has had a stellar start in his new league campaign. The 24-year-old scored a brace in the last league clash between the two giants to secure 3 crucial points for his side in January and with a strong current form which saw him get his first call-up for England, we can expect Nketiah between Martinelli and Saka at the front.
The Reds have tallied up six points from a possible nine over the opening three rounds of the campaign, most recently coming back to win 3-2 over Nottingham Forest last weekend. With material fresh injury concerns we can expect a few tweaks to their starting XI. Regardless of Varane’s injury we can expect a center-back partnership of Victor Lindelof/Todibo and Lisandro Martinez with Harry Maguire still remaining out of favour.
With the hopes to acquire Marc Cucurella now close to being over, Ten Hag is still looking at full-back reinforcements in the closing stages of the transfer window. For Sunday, we can expect Wan-Bissaka retaining his spot at the right and Dalot coming in on the left.
Observing the fixture’s recent trend, we can expect the Gunners to have a slight upper-hand. Arsenal have won 4 of their last 5 clashes against United at the Emirates as well as won 22 out of their last 24 matches at home turf. Additionally United have a contrasting away record with 6 losses, 2 wins and 2 draws in their last 10 away games.
The PFA Young Player of the Year has scored in each of his last three Premier League appearances against Manchester United. Despite the change in tactics in the opeining 3 games which meant losing his vital connection with Ben White at right-back as proved last season, Saka has still managed to score twice this season already.
With Arteta expected to revert back to 4 at the back, we can expect a higher involvement of Bukayo Saka who doesn’t have to track back as often as he did so far this season. Furthermore with Luke Shaw on the sidelines and no natural left-back at United’s disposal to face Arsenal’s number 7, Saka will have a huge opportunity to make his mark on Sunday.
Old Trafford’s new skipper has found the net thrice in his last 5 league matches for United. Furthermore his performance against Forest last week out was the 12th time he’s registered a goal as well as an assist in a Premier League match, making it the joint highest of any player since his league debut in February 2020.
With 10 key chances already created in 3 matches and an expected 1.23 goal contributions every 90 minutes, we can expect the Portugese to dominate his side’s attack and creativity like he usually does.
The striker will most likely lead his team’s lines up front and given his current form as well as his memorable performance the last time the Emirates hosted United, we can expect the 24-year-old on being keen to prove his place in the team.
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Man United: Ramsdale, White, Gabriel, Saliba, Zinchenko, Partey, Rice, Odegaard, Saka, Nketiah & Martinelli.
Manchester United predicted lineup vs Arsenal: Onana, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Martinez, Dalot, Casemiro, Eriksen, Fernandes, Antony, Sancho & Rashford.