Arsenal -v- Manchester United
Emirates Stadium, London
Saturday 23 April 2022, KO 12:30 GMT
Referee: Craig Pawson – Assistants: Eddie Smart, Dan Robathan
Fourth Official: David Coote
VAR: Jarred Gillet – Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis
Manchester United will travel to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League. Fresh from their humiliation of a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday evening, Ralf Rangnick’s side will need to take on a resurgent Arsenal, who are in much better form.
Granted, Arsenal have won just twice in their last six matches, losing four of them but they have a game in hand over United, which will still be the case after this weekend. Their 4-2 victory over Chelsea was not expected, which still gives United a chance for top four, but not a great one.
United’s match against Liverpool was dire to watch. There was no real fight or urgency and it was not something that we have never seen before – this is a regular occurrence in this team and has happened under five different managers now, suggesting that is it a player problem.
This mentality cannot continue and now that Erik ten Hag has been named as the new United manager, signing a three-year contract, this team os supposed professionals will need to start pulling their weight as I doubt they will be given a multitude of chances, only to keep failing.
Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LWLDLW
Liverpool 4-0 L, Norwich City 3-2 W, Everton 1-0 L, Leicester City 1-1 D, Atletico Madrid 1-0 L, Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 W
Goals: 21 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 6 – Mason Greenwood, 5 – Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, 4 – Fred, 3 – Anthony Elanga, 2 – Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, 1 – Own Goal, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek
Assists: 14 – Bruno Fernandes, 9 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Fred, Luke Shaw, 3 – Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Alex Telles, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Marcus Rashford, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Elanga, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Raphael Varane
Arsenal – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLLLWL
Chelsea 4-2 W, Southampton 1-0 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 L, Crystal Palace 3-0 L, Aston Villa 1-0 W, Liverpool 2-0 L
Goals: 11 – Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, 7 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah, 6 – Alexandre Lacazette, Martin Ødegaard, 5 – Gabriel Martinelli, 3 – Gabriel Magalhães, Nicolas Pépé, 2 – Thomas Partey, 1 – Calum Chambers, Charlie Patino, Kieran Tierney
Assists: 8 – Alexandre Lacazette, 5 – Martin Ødegaard, Nicolas Pépé, Bukayo Saka, 3 – Gabriel Martinelli, Kieran Tierney, 2 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Emile Smith Rowe, Cédric Soares, Nuno Tavares, Granit Xhaka, 1 – Mohamed Elneny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiah, Thomas Partey, Takehiro Tomiyasu
Previous meetings with Arsenal and their connections with United.
United and Arsenal have met 59 times in the Premier League. United have won 25 times, drawn 18 times with Arsenal winning 16 times. United have scored 81 goals, winning seven penalties, scoring five. Arsenal have scored 63 goals, winning four penalties, scoring two.
United have kept 17 clean sheets with Arsenal keeping 19. Discipline has been an issue with United players receiving 120 yellow cards and five red cards and Arsenal players being shown 124 yellow cards and four red cards. United need to bounce back from the Liverpool annihilation.
Paddy Sloan, David Herd, Ian Ure, George Graham, Jimmy Rimmer, Brian Kidd, Frank Stapleton, Viv Anderson, Jim Leighton, David Platt, Andy Cole, Mikael Silvestre, Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck, Henrikh Mkhitarayan and Alexis Sanchez have all played for both clubs.
The most successful of these is Van Persie who helped United to their last Premier League title victory in the final season of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign of the club. He made 105 appearances for United, scoring 58 goals and 21 assists, winning the trophy that evaded him at Arsenal.
Team News: Cavani, Pogba and Shaw still out. Varane, Fred and Ronaldo could all be back for United. Partey and Tierney out for Arsenal. Tomiyasu could return.
Manchester United: Edinson Cavani (Calf), Paul Pogba (Calf) and Luke Shaw (Leg) have all been ruled out for the foreseeable future. Raphaël Varane (Other) and Fred (Hip) have a 50% chance of being involved. Cristiano Ronaldo returned to training on Wednesday and should be fit.
Arsenal: Thomas Partey (Thigh) and Kieran Tierney (Knee) have been ruled out of the clash with United. Takehiro Tomiyasu (Calf/Shin/Heel) is a doubt at this time but he could recover in time for the clash with United. Alexandre Lacazette returned in injury time in the victory over Chelsea.
Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo, Sancho and Elanga to form the attack? Fernandes, Lingard and McTominay in midfield? Dalot, Lindelöf, Varane (if fit) and Telles in defence? De Gea in goal?
Rangnick will need to pick a side capable of at least looking like they will fight for their places in the team this season. The majority of the players against Liverpool need to be ashamed of themselves. The thing is, none of these players show much shame.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s determination, desire and leadership was missed against Liverpool but he needed to deal with his family situation and his mind would not have been on the task in hand having lost his new born baby. Hopefully he will return against Arsenal but I understand if not.
Based on what has been said above, I would imagine David De Gea keeping his place in goal for this match and perhaps the remainder of the season. The next two matches are big ones. Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles should start with Victor Lindelöf and Raphaël Varane, if he is fit.
In midfield, the inclusion of Scott McTominay on the bench against Liverpool could signify his availability. Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard should complete the midfield. Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga should flank Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.
Match Prediction: United have beaten Arsenal just three times in their last ten Premier League meetings; Arsenal winning four with three draws between the two clubs.
United have beaten Arsenal three times in their last the meetings in the Premier League. That is not good enough. There have been three draws and four defeats. This needs to be so much better for United but the state this team is in, there will be little or no progress here.
Last season, United were beaten 1-0 at Old Trafford with Paul Pogba giving Arsenal a penalty. At the Emirates, it was a 0-0 draw, which was a poor performance for United, who should have done s much better. The rivalry between these teams is still there but it is not the same as it once was.
Earlier this season, under the caretaker management of Michael Carrick, United beat Arsenal 3-2 at Old Trafford in what was a positive performance, ending Carrick’s time at the club and a positive look at his management of the club. This will be Rangnick’s first clash with Arsenal.
United are in very poor form. A match can go either way at this time. There are few players who are pushing to drag United out of the hole they are in and Cristiano Ronaldo did this against Norwich City. Not one player tried that role against Liverpool. Arsenal’s form at this stage is not great either.
Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United
Written by John Walker