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How Manchester United could line up against Arsenal at the Emirates

Manchester United travel to North London to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League. Jose Mourinho’s side have had a good start to the season, playing 14 league matches, winning ten, drawing twice and losing twice. United sit second in the league, eight points adrift of league leaders Manchester City. Mourinho and his side will be looking for a victory at the Emirates, something they failed to get at the end of last season, losing 2-0 in May. United did not have the strength and depth they have right now, so it should be a positive trip to North London, hopefully seeing United lower the deficit to five points, putting added pressure on Manchester City, who will be seeking to return it to eight points against West Ham United on Sunday.

Starting XI Formation and Prediction:

Mourinho played a three at the back formation in the 4-2 victory over Watford on Tuesday, which is a formation which, if used correctly, could help United achieve what they aim to do at the Emirates. This formation allows United to pack the midfield a bit more, have some pace in the wide areas and also play a striker with two creative players behind, or even two strikers with a creative player behind. This formation against Watford was not the best as the midfield was overrun at times, but United pulled it out of the bag and scored three first half goals. Against Arsenal, United could find themselves with a battle in midfield, which they will need to win. With Nemanja Matic heading to London, but may not play, all depending on how he feels on the day, it could see United with a massive job to do.

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one has kept nine clean sheets in the Premier League this season, the only goalkeeper to achieve that many this season. United have improved from last season, scoring more goals, winning more matches (at this stage of the season) and conceding fewer goals. United need to win these big matches in order to keep heading in the right direction. Last season, United, in these games, were not the team they aspired to be. Beating Arsenal may not be as big a deal as it once was, but there are still many things to achieve from doing so, namely putting pressure on Manchester City ahead of their match on Sunday against West Ham United.

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Back Three: Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo

Against Watford, the trio of Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, and Marcos Rojo did well, apart from the latter conceding a penalty which saw Watford score twice in seven minutes, needing another goal, which came from Jesse Lingard in order to secure the victory. Playing three at the back may not be what United nor Mourinho want to be known for, but in big matches, especially away from home, this formation could be the one which keeps areas covered and allows United to attack with fluidity, which is what we all want. If the formation settled like this, all the teams would be looking into how to beat United, which is something many do not do for other teams.

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Midfield Four: Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, Ashley Young

Packing the midfield is what United need to be doing, especially to control the opposing team, who try and do the same to United, often winning, at least recently anyway. Many would like to see a three-man midfield, but with Nemanja Matic (possibly) and Michael Carrick on the sidelines, it may not be possible yet. Having a four-man midfield, including wing-backs, it could give United the width across the midfield, which could help United dominate. With Matic in limbo as to whether he will play or not, having Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, if fit, would be some good balance, fight, physicality and ability to break forward and assist the attack. As Mourinho has now confirmed Fellaini will not travel to London, Ander Herrera could be the guy to step in. Luke Shaw is still a player unlikely to be involved, so Ashley Young, who is having a great season so far, and Antonio Valencia on the other flank, could set United up in midfield and defending when needed.

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Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are two great, young players with the world at their feet. Playing both behind the striker could be a winner for United. Rashford has literally killed Arsenal by scoring a brace on his Premier League debut, so will be keen to continue his goalscoring record against the North London club. Martial will be keen to be involved. Both have the ability to turn nothing into something and provide the striker with some killer passes, providing he is there to receive them, not playing out of position to assist the attack which would all be for him.

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Striker: Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian striker is clearly out of form and needing a goal to raise his confidence. An assist against Watford could be the perfect starting point. So-called United supporters were calling for the player they have been celebrating for much of the season to be dropped, which if it was done and United fell to defeat, the same fans will blame Mourinho for dropping the star striker. United have plenty of attacking talent but I feel the players selected here are the best, currently at the club and the ones fit enough to start and finish the game. Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be a shoe-in for this match, but with the fact he has not played longer than 20 minutes, starting this match would be unlikely. Romelu Lukaku may just surprise everyone with United needing all players to turn up for this big match.

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