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Ratings: 0-0 stalemate against Arsenal keeps United undefeated on the road but with many questions needing answers

Manchester United drew 0-0 with Arsenal at the Emirates in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had the stronger team with Arsenal suffering with a few injuries. It was a game of few credible chances, something that will unnerve United, who have been playing a poor brand of football in their last two matches, resulting in a defeat and a draw. Arsenal will be the happier of thereto teams, winning four points and keeping two clean sheets against United this season. However, the gap between the two teams is still ten points, so Arsenal have a lot of work ahead of them to close the gap.

United started well, getting plenty of the ball in the opening stages of the match. Arsenal soon started to press, which worked well for them against Southampton during the week. Arsenal worked the ball into Cedric Soares in the fifth minute of the match with the fullback standing his cross into the far post. Alexandre Lacazette got his head to the ball but it went backwards with Paul Pogba making the clearance for United. Emile Smith-Rowe showed signs for Arsenal a minute later as he burst away from Luke Shaw, working the ball into Lacazette in the penalty box but United averted the danger once again.

In the eighth minute of the match, Cedric ushered Bruno Fernandes out of the way inside the penalty area but there was nothing in it for the referee who did not give a penalty. Cedric was then booked in the 13th minute of the match for a foul on Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder then give Arsenal a free-kick, which was checked by VAR after a foul on Granit Xhaka – nothing further was given and rightly so. Lacazette forced a save from David De Gea in the 17th minute of the match after the Frenchman was 25-yards from the goal, firing his shot with some swerve on the ball. The Spanish goalkeeper made a comfortable save though.

Scott McTominay did not look comfortable in the first half of the match, seemingly having a stomach upset, taking a tablet on the sidelines. He never seemed to recover and was substituted in the 37th minute of the match with Anthony Martial replacing him. There were a few chances for Arsenal before McTominay was replaced. It was a shame that he could not continue but United would now have more attacking players on the pitch and could throw something at Arsenal, who were aiming to get something in the first half with the number of opportunities that they had against United.

United won a free-kick on the edge of the Arsenal box on the attack with Marcus Rashford with the ball in the box, but his avenues towards the goal were closed down, passing to Fernandes, who was fouled just as he placed his shot towards the goal. The free-kick was eventually taken and deflected over the crossbar with United winning a corner. United has Arsenal in their own half for the last few minutes of the half, including the one minute of added time. However, despite that, the score was still 0-0 with both teams needing to do a lot more in the second half to take the three points that were on offer.

Arsenal made one change at the start of the second half with Willian replacing Gabriel Martinelli, possibly aiming to cut down the chances of Aaron Wan-Bissaka breaking though on the right, as he had a few times in the first half of the match. Wan-Bissaka was booked in the 51st minute of the match after trying to cut down a change to break into the box, seemingly winning the ball but also taking the player down, which was a fair booking. It was an even start to the second half with both teams gaining space and ground, although United had little of the ball with Arsenal looking to break the deadlock, which was not coming for them.

United seemed to gain something around the hour mark of the match, launching an attack and coming close to breaking the deadlock themselves with Shaw smashing the ball across the face of the goal. However, Arsenal regained possession and broke forward into the United area where they aimed to get further forward and pressure the visitors, which was not working as well as it could have. David Luiz had a shot on goal in the 62nd minute of the match with Arsenal breaking forward through Nicolas Pepe and the ball ending up at the feet of the former Chelsea defender, whose shot was well over the crossbar, therefore wasted.

Lacazette had a chance in the 63rd minute of the match with Harry Maguire level with him and making a challenge just outside the box, which felled the forward. A free-kick was given with Lacazette taking it, rattling the crossbar with United regaining possession and sending the ball up field once more, only for Arsenal to get hold of the ball and press United once more, which does not seem to be the best thing for these players as Arsenal seem to be getting the better of them, despite not finding a goal so far in the match. The game was starting to get lively, but nothing like the United versus Arsenal matches of old – not yet anyway.

United had a great chance to take the lead in the game with Fernandes inn the Arsenal area in space, slicing the ball into Edinson Cavani only for his shot to end up behind him with Martial slicing it and still not able to carry United home. Shaw had the ball on the left, sending the ball into the box but it was cleared before Cavani could connect with the ball and score a goal. United started to press Arsenal in their own half from there, still seeing that elusive goal to lead the match. Arsenal then made the clearance with United regaining possession in their own half, sending the ball forward again.

United made their second substitution with ten minute left to play with Mason Greenwood, who was originally left off the team sheet in an admin error, replacing Rashford, who had not been as thorough in the match as he could have been, especially in front of goal. A few minutes later, Martin Odegaard made his debut, replacing Smith-Rowe. With all still to play for with a few good chances for United, with nothing gained, United had a few chances late in the game, but nothing to break the deadlock. It was a 0-0 draw with Arsenal the happier team, winning four points and two clean sheets against United this season.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made a few good saved to deny Arsenal. His positioning seemed worrying at times, especially when he decided to watch balls come in rather then diving to prevent them going in. However, I did not see what he saw so I will let him off for that.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Had the better of Martinelli in the first half of the match, which forced a change during the half time break. He still got forward in the second half, playing a good ball in the 89th minute, which United should have scored from.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Defended well against Arsenal in a match which was going to be tough after the defeat to Sheffield United. United, as a team, dealt with Arsenal, who were not as polished as they might have been. I could have been costly for United if they were full in strength and form.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led well and broke forward with United to add some pressure in the box on the attack. He made a foul on Lacazette which gave a free-kick away, which luckily came to nothing. He was booked in the last 15 minutes of the match, earning his fifth yellow card of the season (luckily he will not be suspended).

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23 Luke Shaw

Broke forward a lot of the time with United. Had the chance to open the scoring but couldn't. Played a good attacking and defensive game and will perhaps be frustrated that the game was not as comfortable as it should have been.

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39 Scott McTominay

Started the match well but soon seemed to have a problem with his stomach. He was given a tablet but did not settle and was replaced by Martial in the 37th minute of the match.

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17 Fred

Played a good midfield game and could have perhaps had United in front with a strike on goal. He played the game well and did what he needed to do.

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6 Paul Pogba

United played well with three midfielders in the team but after McTominay came off, Pogba reverted back into a pivot, which at times looked good for United, also giving Arsenal some more space in the midfield. Pogba tried to get the ball up to the attacking players and got involved in a lot of the match. For effort alone, he played a good game.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Fouled by Cedric in the first half and could have perhaps been sent off for a challenge on Xhaka, if it was as bad as the media made out - it wasn't. Covered a lot of ground and did his best, but United were struggling to take on Arsenal and get something from the match. He will be frustrated with himself and will want to be the difference in the next match. If that fails, perhaps he does need a break after a turbulent year at United?

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7 Edinson Cavani

Perhaps should have done better when on the ball. In the second half of the match, a shot ended up behind him and into the feet of Martial, which should have perhaps been sent towards the goal instead. He was then unable to get one the end of a cross to break the deadlock. In terms of positioning, he did well but the end product was lacking. He is still the better striker in this team at this moment in time.

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10 Marcus Rashford

It was not the best match for the forward. I felt that he should have been doing a lot more and his chances on goal were not the best. He was replaced by Greenwood in the 80th minute of the match.

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Substitutes

9 Anthony Martial

Replaced McTominay 37'. Came on with less than ten minute of the first half to play. United had more attacking players on the pitch. I don't really think Martial did much in the game to flex the might of United. Yes, he got forward but inn terms of doing something, I am not sure he did.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Rashford 80'. Came on with ten minutes left to play. The game was still at 0-0 with all to play for. United had chances but Greenwood was not involved in them.

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Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay (Martial 37′), Fred, Pogba; Fernandes; Cavani, Rashford (Greenwood 80′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe; James, Matic, Van de Beek

Bookings: Cedric Soares 13′; Aaron Wan-Bissaka 51′, Paul Pogba 73′, Harry Maguire 76′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Cavani and Rashford lead the line against Arsenal with Fernandes supporting; midfield three of McTominay, Fred and Pogba

Manchester United will face Arsenal at the Emirates in the Premier League this evening, needing a victory to get back on track after a poor 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sheffield United earlier in the week. The Blades, after 19 matches had been played this season, were the worst team in the history of the Premier League but will be happier with their cup final victory. Arsenal have struggled at times this season but in recent weeks have started to return to form, which will be a worry for United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get back to winning ways, also overturning a 1-0 defeat inn this fixture at Old Trafford.

United have faced Arsenal 233 times in all competitions in the history of both clubs, winning 99 times, drawing 49 times and losing 85 times. United have won once in their last five matches against Arsenal, going back to the 25 January 2019, just over two years ago. It was a 3-1 victory for United at the Emirates in the FA Cup – the day that Jesse Lingard did the Milly Rock at Arsenal’s stadium. Not that it has done them much good since. In the past four matches since their last win, United have three defeats and one draw against the Gunners. United will need to get a victory on the board against the Gunners this season.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred, Pogba;

Fernandes;

Cavani, Rashford

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe; James, Matic, Van de Beek; Martial, Greenwood

Arsenal:

Leno;

Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Cedric;

Partey, Xhaka;

Pepe, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli;

Lacazette

Substitutes:

Runarsson; Maghalaes, Chambers; Odegaard, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Willock; Willian, Nketiah

United and the Arsenal have met 57 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 24 times, drawing 17 times and losing 16 times. United have scored a total of 78 goals, conceding 61 with United winning six penalties and scoring four with Arsenal winning four and scoring two. United have kept 16 clean sheets with Arsenal 18. United have received 116 yellow cards and five red cards. Arsenal have received 123 yellow cards and four red cards. This fixture is normally one that is very fired up and with United losing at Old Trafford earlier in the season, United will need to find a victory to get back to winning ways.

In the fixture at the Emirates last season, which was played on the 1 January 2020, United were beaten 2-0 with Nicolas Pepe opening the scoring in the eighth minute and Sokratis doubling the lead in the 42nd minute of the match. United started 2020 on a sour note, only for things to change with an uptick in form a month later. At Old Trafford earlier this season, it was another defeat for United after Paul Pogba gave away a penalty with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring it in the 69th minute of the match. It was a poor result for United with neither team looking able to win the match. Solskjaer will need a good result this time.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Edinson Cavani has to lead the line against Arsenal. Bruno Fernandes needs to find his form again as United need to beat Arsenal

Manchester United will face Arsenal at the Emirates in the Premier League on Saturday evening, needing a victory to get back on track after a poor 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sheffield United earlier in the week. The Blades, after 19 matches had been played this season, were the worst team in the history of the Premier League but will be happier with their cup final victory. Arsenal have struggled at times this season but in recent weeks have started to return to form, which will be a worry for United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get back to winning ways, also overturning a 1-0 defeat inn this fixture at Old Trafford.

United have faced Arsenal 233 times in all competitions in the history of both clubs, winning 99 times, drawing 49 times and losing 85 times. United have won once in their last five matches against Arsenal, going back to the 25 January 2019, just over two years ago. It was a 3-1 victory for United at the Emirates in the FA Cup – the day that Jesse Lingard did the Milly Rock at Arsenal’s stadium. Not that it has done them much good since. In the past four matches since their last win, United have three defeats and one draw against the Gunners. United will need to get a victory on the board against the Gunners this season.

How United have faired against Arsenal in the Premier League.

United and the Arsenal have met 57 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 24 times, drawing 17 times and losing 16 times. United have scored a total of 78 goals, conceding 61 with United winning six penalties and scoring four with Arsenal winning four and scoring two. United have kept 16 clean sheets with Arsenal 18. United have received 116 yellow cards and five red cards. Arsenal have received 123 yellow cards and four red cards. This fixture is normally one that is very fired up and with United losing at Old Trafford earlier in the season, United will need to find a victory to get back to winning ways.

In the fixture at the Emirates last season, which was played on the 1 January 2020, United were beaten 2-0 with Nicolas Pepe opening the scoring in the eighth minute and Sokratis doubling the lead in the 42nd minute of the match. United started 2020 on a sour note, only for things to change with an uptick in form a month later. At Old Trafford earlier this season, it was another defeat for United after Paul Pogba gave away a penalty with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring it in the 69th minute of the match. It was a poor result for United with neither team looking able to win the match. Solskjaer will need a good result this time.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Arsenal in the Premier League at the Emirates on Saturday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

I worry about David De Gea’s form this season. Granted, he was fouled for the first goal for Sheffield United earlier in the week and the second goal was a deflection, but I cannot help wonder if De Gea still has what it takes to be the main goalkeeper at the club this season. There are times where he can be the best goalkeeper once again but others that put him on the demise. I’d hope we see the former against Arsenal. United will need to get back to winning ways, widening the gap amongst their rivals after Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea both dropped points earlier in the week. Beating Arsenal is necessary this season.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence needs to be strengthened and it will have to be something that is finalised in the summer with no new signings planned for the January transfer window. United had a shocker against Sheffield United earlier in the week and will need to show a flawless display against Arsenal this weekend. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place at right-back based on the fact he has no real competition at the club this season. Luke Shaw should be back in the starting XI along with Eric Bailly, who has now overcome a knock. Harry Maguire will keep his place in the centre of the defence, being one of the few ever-ready players at the club this season.

Midfield: Fred, Paul Pogba

The midfield is an area of the squad which has a whole host of talent this season. Donny van de Beek may miss out a lot of the time but he will understand that he needs to fit himself into the team and in time that will come. Against Arsenal, Fred and Paul Pogba should start in the two-man midfield. Whilst Nemanja Matic offers a lot defensively, against Sheffield United, I felt that United did not have the midfield ability to take on the Premier League strugglers, as that is what they still are. Beating United does not guarantee survival in the league and never will – unless it is the final match of the season and you need the three points on offer.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial

I say this quite often but this is the area that has provided a lot of the goals scored this season. Bruno Fernandes has 16 goals to his name, Marcus Rashford has 15 goals and Mason Greenwood has four goals – that adds up to 35 goals from three players just after the halfway point of the season. In addition to the goals scored, Fernandes and Rashford have nine assists each with Greenwood having four – which is an additional 22 goals, meaning this trio have produced a total of 57 goal contributions at this stage of the season, which is a great feat for these players. United will need to keep them fit to continue delivering for the club.

Forward: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani is the better striker to lead the line with this season based on the poor showing of Anthony Martial thus far. United need to find a way to unlock the goals as they seem to have dried up this month, compared to December, which is not a good sign. However, it could well be a blip after another big month for the club. Cavani has the experience to drive United, unlocking more space for other players as he may become marked in and outside of the box. The same could happen to other players, which would free up some space for Cavani and from there, could find the goals United need to win the match.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles; Juan Mata, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay; Anthony Martial

All teams can name nine substitutes in matches in domestic competition, using just three of them during a match. This will give each manager two extra players which could help their teams from getting a much-needed result. In this match against Arsenal and the fact that players will be leaving the club on loan and permanently this month, United will have few options. Dean Henderson will remain on the bench for this match. Defensively, Victor Lindelof and Alex Telles will be available. Juan Mata, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay will be available, as will Anthony Martial. Amad Diallo could have been involved in this match but he will play for United’s U23’s against Liverpool in the Premier League 2.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Beating Arsenal is a must and Solskjaer just accomplish that feat this weekend

Arsenal -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Emirates Stadium, London

Saturday 30 January 2021, KO 17:30 GMT

Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: Robert Jones

VAR: Paul Tierney Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday

Manchester United will face Arsenal at the Emirates in the Premier League on Saturday evening, needing a victory to get back on track after a poor 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sheffield United earlier in the week. The Blades, after 19 matches had been played this season, were the worst team in the history of the Premier League but will be happier with their cup final victory. Arsenal have struggled at times this season but in recent weeks have started to return to form, which will be a worry for United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get back to winning ways, also overturning a 1-0 defeat inn this fixture at Old Trafford.

United have faced Arsenal 233 times in all competitions in the history of both clubs, winning 99 times, drawing 49 times and losing 85 times. United have won once in their last five matches against Arsenal, going back to the 25 January 2019, just over two years ago. It was a 3-1 victory for United at the Emirates in the FA Cup – the day that Jesse Lingard did the Milly Rock at Arsenal’s stadium. Not that it has done them much good since. In the past four matches since their last win, United have three defeats and one draw against the Gunners. United will need to get a victory on the board against the Gunners this season.

Manchester United: LWWDWW

Sheffield United 1-2 L, Liverpool 3-2 W, Fulham 2-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D, Burnley 1-0 W, Watford 1-0 W

Arsenal: WLWDWW

Southampton 3-1 W, Southampton 1-0 L, Newcastle United 3-0 W, Crystal Palace 0-0 D, Newcastle United 2-0 W, West Bromwich Albion 4-0 W

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes is still United’s top scorer with 16 goals scored this season. Alexandre Lacazette has scored ten goals for Arsenal at this stage of the season.

Manchester United Goals: 16 – Bruno Fernandes, 15 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, 4 – Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, 2 – Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Own Goal, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Over the last six matches, United have been in good form but goal scoring seems to be a problem that needs to be resolved. United have won four, drawn one and lost one of their last six matches, scoring eight goals, conceding five and keeping three clean sheets. However, in their last match, a poor game plan cost United three points and their pace at the top of the Premier League. United have a good squad of players and some need to start looking at the bigger picture, that they are not as great as many suggest in their positions. Solskjaer will need to be ruthless in his selection as results are needed more than building egos.

Arsenal Goals: 10 – Alexandre Lacazette, 8 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 6 – Nicolas Pépé, 5 – Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka, 3 – Joseph Willock, 2 – Folarin Balogun, Gabriel Magalhães, Emile Smith Rowe, 1 – Mohamed Elneny, David Luiz, Pablo Marí, Reiss Nelson, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka

In their last six matches, Arsenal have been finding some positive form which is frustrating to see. Mikel Arteta’s side have won four, drawn one and lost one, which is the same record as United. Arsenal have scored a total of 12 goals, conceding twice and keeping four clean sheets, which is better than United in their last six matches. At the time of writing, Arsenal sat in ninth place in the Premier League table, on 30 points, which is ten fewer than United with both teams playing 20 times fro far this season. This is going to be an important match for both teams – United to keep a title chase on and Arsenal to propel themselves further up the table.

Team News: One player on the sidelines for United ahead of important Arsenal clash whilst the North London club are sweating on up to seven players ahead of the visit of United.

Phil Jones (knee) is the only player on the sidelines ahead of the Arsenal match. Brandon Williams (knock) and Eric Bailly (knock) have both recovered and could be added to the United squad due to travel to the capital for Saturday’s clash with Arsenal. Marcos Rojo, who has been on the sidelines for most of the season, looks to be leaving the club, so has played his last match already. Facundo Pellistri also seems to be heading out of the door on loan with Jesse Lingard also likely to leave the club before the transfer window closes. What happens with Sergio Romero remains to be seen as his future seems unlikely at United.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could miss this match with a personal issue, which would be a massive blow for Arsenal. Kieran Tierney (leg), Emile Smith Rowe (other), Thomas Partey (other) and new loan signing Martin Odegaard (fitness) all have a 50% chance of featuring against United either being close to recovery or too soon to feature. A late fitness test will be conducted in this case, which will probably see most of them have some sort of involvement against United. Dani Ceballos (calf/shin) is nearing recovery and might miss this match with Pablo Mari Villar (calf/shin) also likely to be out of contention to face United.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani to lead the line against Arsenal?

Solskjaer needs to be ruthless in his starting selection against Arsenal. Anthony Martial is not a striker in any kind of form to suggest he could do what is needed to get United scoring. Edinson Cavani has shown more importance in that area in the past few matches, despite actually scoring. The Uruguayan has five goals and two assists to his name this season, still needing more to be lauded as a player to be recognised as a legend of the club in the future. Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood should flank the striker with Fred and Paul Pogba in midfield ahead of a back four consisting of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw. David De Gea should keep his place in goal.

Match Prediction: 57 matches played with United winning 24 times, drawing 17 times nd losing 16 times in the Premier League.

United and the Arsenal have met 57 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 24 times, drawing 17 times and losing 16 times. United have scored a total of 78 goals, conceding 61 with United winning six penalties and scoring four with Arsenal winning four and scoring two. United have kept 16 clean sheets with Arsenal 18. United have received 116 yellow cards and five red cards. Arsenal have received 123 yellow cards and four red cards. This fixture is normally one that is very fired up and with United losing at Old Trafford earlier in the season, United will need to find a victory to get back to winning ways.

In the fixture at the Emirates last season, which was played on the 1 January 2020, United were beaten 2-0 with Nicolas Pepe opening the scoring in the eighth minute and Sokratis doubling the lead in the 42nd minute of the match. United started 2020 on a sour note, only for things to change with an uptick in form a month later. At Old Trafford earlier this season, it was another defeat for United after Paul Pogba gave away a penalty with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring it in the 69th minute of the match. It was a poor result for United with neither team looking able to win the match. Solskjaer will need a good result this time.

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Woeful Manchester United fall to 2-0 defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates, back down to earth after Paris victory…

Manchester United found themselves beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday evening. It was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s second defeat as manager. United had a perfect chance to try to secure their place inside the top four with Tottenham Hotspur losing to Southampton on Saturday but United has now slipped into fifth place, just a point ahead of Chelsea, who have a game in hand over United and those above them.

Arsenal took the lead in the 12th minute of the match through Granit Xhaka. Ainsley Maitland-Niles moved the ball to the right with Alexandre Lacazette lying in wait, who then played the ball to Xhaka who was in space, hitting his shot powerfully with David De Gea in full view of the threat. The Arsenal midfielder beats the Spanish number one in what will be seen as a glaring error for De Gea. United nearly scored in the opening stages, nearly finding an equaliser soon after the goal with Fred hitting the post.

Arsenal doubled their lead, from the penalty spot in the 69th minute after Fred was adjudged to foul Lacazette in the United box. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took the penalty, beating De Gea and sending Arsenal 2-0 up in this game. This United side does not have the same mentality as the side that played in Paris during the week. It seems to be the same old United that has failed to take advantage of teams dropping points around them this season.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one has been worryingly out of form recently and has seen goal conceded which he could have made a difference with. Granted I see things form a different perspective to him, especially with Xhaka's goal but these goals that are going in week after week are becoming a problem. Committed a huge error which saw Xhaka score in the 12th minute. The penalty was 50/50 although De Gea rarely saves them. Needs to start upping his form.

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18 Ashley Young

Young played well but seems to be in need of a rest. He will get that against Wolves at the weekend. Got forward at times but it was not meant to be today.

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Chris Smalling

Better than Lindelof today, in placed. Dealt with Aubameyang and Lacazette in places. Still not at his best though. Was shocking, at times, against Southampton and put in a shift against PSG. Needs to put in a shift all the time.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Lindelof has been in good form for ages now but today, that was thrown. Seemed to struggle when playing against two strikers. Not able to play from the back and seemed to panic a lot of the time. He will get there.

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23 Luke Shaw

A threat on his flank. Put in a great ball to Lukaku and perhaps should have had an assist. Got involved in attack, mores in the second half when United started brightly.

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Diogo Dalot

In the last two matches, Dalot should have started and had an impact coming on. In this game, his impact was minimal. According to United's app, he had a 63% influence in the game, mostly defending, which is his role.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Booked in the second half. The Serbian seemed rusty, which will be expected after a layoff, missing the last four matches. Matic played a part in the game but was slow at times. He was replaced by Greenwood in the 81st minute.

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17 Fred

Should have scored but hit the post. Unfortunate for the Brazilian, who in the last few games had started to show signs of hope. Gave away a penalty, which was a soft one.

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6 Paul Pogba

Missed the PSG game through suspension. Seemed to lack match fitness. Not involved enough against Arsenal, which will appease their fans as supposedly, Xhaka is better than Pogba. Needs to become that guy in midfield again, connecting the midfield with the attacking players.

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Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku put a lot of effort into the game against Arsenal. His confidence level is a lot higher and he helped the team in many instances. However, his finishing was poor. Should maybe have put United ahead before Arsenal scored.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The England forward was bright on the ball at times but his decisions were costly for United. Put a great ball into Lukaku which ended up getting nothing for United. Onwards to the next game now, hopefully Rashford will stand up and be counted for.

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Substitutes

9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Dalot 71'. Good to see the Frenchman back having missed the last five and a half matches due to injury. His involvement in the game was both defensive and keeping possession. Not the normal attacking flair.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Matic 81'. Replaced Matic 81'. Premier League debut for the 17-year-old. Was not afraid of the Arsenal defence and tried to get some involvement in an attacking sense. It will be good to see more of him this season.

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Goals: Granit Xhaka 12′, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 69′

Assists: Alexandre Lacazette 12′

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Dalot (Martial 71′), Matic (Greenwood 81′), Fred, Pogba; Lukaku, Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Rojo; Pereira, McTominay

Bookings: Sokratis 38′, Sead Kolasinac 90′; Nemanja Matic 68′, Paul Pogba 76′

Confirmed Starting XI: Lukaku, Rashford and Pogba lead the line; Matic returns in 3-4-1-2 formation against Arsenal

Manchester United will travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Last time in North London, United beat Arsenal 3-1 with Jesse Lingard doing the moonwalk during a 3-1 victory, which saw the side knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup this season. Lingard has form for turning the pitch of the Emirates into his dance floor. Hopefully, he will be fit to play a part in this match, but who knows.

United will still be on cloud nine following their 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in Paris, drawing 3-3 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League, winning on away goals. Angel Di Maria’s face was a picture, and it will forever warm my heart knowing that he was just another failure to play at United for that season of obscurity for him, before he found his true calling, playing in a poor league to ensure he remains a star.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Young, Smalling, Lindelof;

Dalot, Fred, Matic, Shaw;

Pogba;

Lukaku, Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Rojo; Pereira, McTominay; Martial, Greenwood

United and Arsenal have played 229 competitive matches in the history of both clubs, dating back to the first match which was played on the 13 October 1894, a 3-3 draw between Newton Heath and Woolwich Arsenal. United have won 99 times, drawn 48 times and lost 82 times. United are unbeaten in their last four matches, winning both matches at the Emirates in the Premier League and the Emirates FA Cup, and winning and drawing at Old Trafford, both in the Premier League. Arsenal last won on the 7 May 2017.

United are currently in magical form, especially after that magnificent 3-1 win in Paris which saw them reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League this season. In their last six matches, United have won four times, drawn once and lost once. Solskjaer’s side has scored 11 goals, conceded six goals, kept two clean sheets and saw themselves rise back into the top four in the Premier League.

Arsenal might not be in the best of form but what do you expect from the team that seems to be stuck in the same bubble at this stage of the season. The manager has changed but in terms of football, the same problems are there. The defence is awful the majority of the time, players go missing in big matches and their results are just too mixed to suggest that are going to get the better of this confident United side. Three wins, two losses and one draw in the last six, scoring 12 goals, conceding six and keeping two clean sheets.

Starting XI Prediction: 4-4-2 diamond formation with Rashford and Lukaku leading the line; Pogba back in the team after suspension

Manchester United will travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Last time in North London, United beat Arsenal 3-1 with Jesse Lingard doing the moonwalk during a 3-1 victory, which saw the side knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup this season. Lingard has form for turning the pitch of the Emirates into his dance floor. Hopefully, he will be fit to play a part in this match, but who knows.

United will still be on cloud nine following their 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in Paris, drawing 3-3 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League, winning on away goals. Angel Di Maria’s face was a picture, and it will forever warm my heart knowing that he was just another failure to play at United for that season of obscurity for him, before he found his true calling, playing in a poor league to ensure he remains a star.

United and Arsenal have played 229 competitive matches in the history of both clubs, dating back to the first match which was played on the 13 October 1894, a 3-3 draw between Newton Heath and Woolwich Arsenal. United have won 99 times, drawn 48 times and lost 82 times. United are unbeaten in their last four matches, winning both matches at the Emirates in the Premier League and the Emirates FA Cup, and winning and drawing at Old Trafford, both in the Premier League. Arsenal last won on the 7 May 2017.

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one will be up for another visit to the Emirates this season. David De Gea has not kept a clean sheet for United since the 0-0 draw against Liverpool at the Theatre of Dreams. Keeping one this weekend would be a massive boost ahead of the next few matches. United are a much better team with De Gea in the starting XI. United have some great backup in the goalkeeper ranks but it is De Gea who needs to start matches like this. Sergio Romero can perhaps play next weekend in the FA Cup.

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Defence: Diogo Dalot, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw

Ashley Young may need a rest so he is ready to play in more important matches this season, now that two more Champions League games will be played. Diogo Dalot should have started in the last two matches, so this one is a must for him. His attacking prowess and his eye for a cross could well be needed. Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof should keep their place in the centre if defence and Luke Shaw should continue playing after a good season which has not seen many injuries, which is great.

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Midfield: Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Paul Pogba, Fred

Paul Pogba will be able to play for United this weekend and it will be a massive boost for Solskjaer. United may need to use the midfield to crowd Arsenal out, which has been a problem recently so a midfield diamond with Scott McTominay playing in his preferred defensive midfield role with Andreas Pereira and Fred in midfield with Pogba playing in the area that will knit the midfield with the attack, giving United more creation for goals.

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Forward Two: Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku

Playing two strikers is great for United, especially with both seemingly in form and ready to put in the performances needed to end the season on a high. Romelu Lukaku has scored six goals in his last three matches, seemingly confident and ready to strike again. Marcus Rashford scored a great penalty, under pressure, in Paris, and showed immense maturity. Having both strikers in form, especially heading to the Emirates could be enough to hit Arsenal where it hurts, again!

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Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young; Angel Gomes, James Garner; Anthony Martial, Tahith Chong

United now has nine players on the sidelines; Matteo Darmian (knock), Antonio Valencia (muscle), Ander Herrera (hamstring), Juan Mata (hamstring), Jesse Lingard (hamstring), Nemanja Matic (muscle), Phil Jones (illness), Alexis Sanchez (MCL), and Eric Bailly (knock). It would be good to have Martial on the bench but in case he’s not yet ready, Mason Greenwood could be given the nod again. Gomes, Garner and Chong could all be in the travelling team too. There is nothing better than playing youth.

Preview: Hopefully there will be another moonwalk at the Emirates this weekend; nine consecutive wins on the road

Arsenal -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Emirates Stadium, London

Sunday 10 March 2019; KO 16:30 GMT

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Manchester United will travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Last time in North London, United beat Arsenal 3-1 with Jesse Lingard doing the moonwalk during a 3-1 victory, which saw the side knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup this season. Lingard has form for turning the pitch of the Emirates into his dance floor. Hopefully, he will be fit to play a part in this match, but who knows.

United will still be on cloud nine following their 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in Paris, drawing 3-3 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League, winning on away goals. Angel Di Maria’s face was a picture, and it will forever warm my heart knowing that he was just another failure to play at United for that season of obscurity for him, before he found his true calling, playing in a poor league to ensure he remains a star.

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Form: United are in much better form and have a much higher confidence level with Arsenal coming back from a poor night in France

Manchester United: WWWDWL

Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 W, Southampton 3-2 W, Crystal Palace 3-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D, Chelsea 2-0 W, Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 L

United are currently in magical form, especially after that magnificent 3-1 win in Paris which saw them reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League this season. In their last six matches, United have won four times, drawn once and lost once. Solskjaer’s side has scored 11 goals, conceded six goals, kept two clean sheets and saw themselves rise back into the top four in the Premier League.

Arsenal: LDWWWL

Rennes 3-1 L, Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 D, Bournemouth 5-1 W, Southampton 2-0 W, BATE Borisov 3-0 W, BATE Borisov 1-0 L

Arsenal might not be in the best of form but what do you expect from the team that seems to be stuck in the same bubble at this stage of the season. The manager has changed but in terms of football, the same problems are there. The defence is awful the majority of the time, players go missing in big matches and their results are just too mixed to suggest that are going to get the better of this confident United side. Three wins, two losses and one draw in the last six, scoring 12 goals, conceding six and keeping two clean sheets.

Top Scorers: Arsenal may have one of the top scorers this season but Romelu Lukaku is coming after him based on his current form

Manchester United: 15 – Romelu Lukaku, 14 – Paul Pogba, 11 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 3 – Ander Herrera, 2 – Marouane Fellaini, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, 1 – Fred, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling

Arsenal: 19 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 14 – Alexandre Lacazette, 6 – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 5 – Alex Iwobi, Mesut Özil, Danny Welbeck, 4 – Aaron Ramsey, 3 – Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock, Granit Xhaka, 2 – Sokratis, Lucas Torreira, 1 – Matteo Guendouzi, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Nacho Monreal

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Team News: Injuries still a problem but at the moment, touch wood, they don’t seem to be costing United – the squad mentality is great

United may again have to rely on the fringe players based on the number of injuries the club currently has. Nemanja Matic (muscle), Ander Herrera (hamstring), Juan Mata (hamstring), Jesse Lingard (hamstring), Phil Jones (illness), Anthony Martial (groin), Antonio Valencia (calf), Matteo Darmian (knock), Alexis Sanchez (MCL) and now Eric Bailly (knock). Paul Pogba will be back though. Solskjaer will obviously give an injury update during his press conference which later this morning.

United will no doubt still be boosted following that victory over PSG, which they should enjoy but not get carried away with as the Arsenal match is just as important as that one, especially if United want to get some space between them and Arsenal. Solskjaer will ensure his squad is grounded before travelling to the Emirates on Sunday. Arsenal manager Unai Emery will be without three players for Sundays match with Hector Bellerin (ACL), Rob Holding (ACL), and Danny Welbeck (ankle) all on the sidelines.

Predicted Starting XI: Ten on the sidelines through injury but United still have a decent team to pick from

It is so far unknown as to whether United will have any of the injured players back before the visit to the Emirates on Sunday. Having some strength on the bench would be good but could also be unlikely. The return of Paul Pogba will be good in itself as he will strengthen the midfield, although they did just fine without him against PSG. The likes of Angel Gomes, James Garner, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood could be called into action again.

Match Prediction: United are in great form recently, especially after a magical night in Paris; Arsenal looking to bounce back after a heavy defeat

United and Arsenal have played 229 competitive matches in the history of both clubs, dating back to the first match which was played on the 13 October 1894, a 3-3 draw between Newton Heath and Woolwich Arsenal. United have won 99 times, drawn 48 times and lost 82 times. United are unbeaten in their last four matches, winning both matches at the Emirates in the Premier League and the Emirates FA Cup, and winning and drawing at Old Trafford, both in the Premier League. Arsenal last won on the 7 May 2017.

Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United

Report and Ratings: Alexis Sanchez helped sink Arsenal as Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial secure FA Cup fifth round place

Manchester United beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium in London to seal a place in the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has made it eight wins out of eight and will have to wait until Monday night to see who they are drawn against in the fifth round of the FA Cup this season. Next up for United is Burnley at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, meaning United have three days to prepare for nine in a row.

Alexis Sanchez scored the opening goal in fine fettle on his return from injury. Jesse Lingard scored a second goal minutes later to double United’s lead. Romelu Lukaku assisted both goals for United. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got a consolation goal for Arsenal just before half time. Anthony Martial scored the third goal for United in the 82nd minute of the match, restoring United’s two-goal cushion.

Arsenal suffered another defeat at the hands of United, losing two more players to injury. It seems quite funny to think that this team, who their supporters suggest is successful are in the dire straits that they are. No money to make signings and missing so many players due to injury. We all know that United have suffered many injuries at the same time but it is good to see other teams suffer in a similar fashion, even better that it is Arsenal.

Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian assisted two goals for United in his first start since the Reading game. Lukaku has improved, especially performing like this against Arsenal. It could well be the confidence builder that the player needs to boost him ahead of the rest of the season with United playing many big games in the coming month. Having a striker selection problem, with both strikers being in-form, would be a problem that any manager would like to contend with.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United

22 Sergio Romero

The Argentinian put in a superb save to deny Aaron Ramsey from scoring. David De Gea's understudy is certainly up for a cup run this season.

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18 Ashley Young

Got the better of Alex Iwobi on many occasions and was an attacking threat also. Booked for handling the ball late in the second half. A good performance from the captain.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Iceman has quickly become the best central defender at the club this season. Cool, calm and composed both on and off the ball. Great to see him hit this kind of form.

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3 Eric Bailly

Back in the starting XI after his suspension and he did a good job at the back. It will be good to see both Bailly and Victor Lindelof forger a partnership in the centre of defence this season.

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23 Luke Shaw

Arsenal pressured United's left-back on many occasions and he did not really have the same attacking threat as he has in other matches. He did get forward at times though. His role in United's second goal was a highlight of his season.

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21 Ander Herrera

Put in a lot of effort in the centre of the pitch against Arsenal. Together with Nemanja Matic, the Spanish midfielder has helped forge the midfield at the club. Gave Paul Pogba the freedom to roam .

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31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian was calm alongside Ander Herrera against Arsenal. He kept his passing neat and tidy and helped his midfield partner give the freedom Pogba had in the game.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Scored a great goal to double United's lead minutes after Alexis Sanchez took the lead against his old club. Seems to love playing for United. Was booked for defending his teammate, Marcus Rashford and also had something thrown at him by a verminous Arsenal supporter.

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6 Paul Pogba

Has a lot of control during the game. Unlucky not to score but his parried shot turned into Anthony Martial's goal, restoring United's two-goal lead. This is a much different Paul Pogba to the one we saw under Jose Mourinho.

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Alexis Sanchez

Booed from the very start of the match by the Arsenal supporters. Took a page from Robin van Persie's book, scored a goal against his former club. Didn't really celebrate but the next time he scores, like Van Persie, he will probably celebrate. Good to see him get involved in the scoring. Five goals in just over a year now. Will be confident to get more involved in the team selection.

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Romelu Lukaku

His second start of the month. Assisted both Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard's goals. He put in a good performance and seemed to grow in confidence as the game grew. Nice to see him contributing again.

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Substitutes

10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Lukaku 72'. Threatened Arsenal's defence every time he ran towards them. Seemed to be in the zone despite given a slight rest. Booked late in the game.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Sanchez 72'. Scored the goal to secure the win for United and take the edge off the game. Will have his confidence boosted that he's found the back of the net again.

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4 Phil Jones

Replaced Lingard 88'. Came on late in the game. Helped keep the defence in charge of the game.

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Goals: Piere-Emerick Aubameyang 43′; Alexis Sanchez 31′, Jesse Lingard 33′, Anthony Martial 82′

Assists: Romelu Lukaku 31′, 33′; Alexandre Lacazette 43′

Manchester United: Romero; Young, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; Herrera, Matic; Lingard (Jones 88′), Pogba, Sanchez (Martial 72′); Lukaku (Rashford 72′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Dalot; Mata, Fred

Bookings: Laurent Koscielny 54′, Sead Kolasinac 86′; Ashley Young 68′, Jesse Lingard 76′, Marcus Rashford 86′

Confirmed Starting XI: Lukaku, Lingard and Sanchez lead the line against Arsenal; Rashford and Martial on the bench

Manchester United take on Unai Emery’s Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Friday evening in the Emirates FA Cup. The two sides met earlier this season, albeit under Jose Mourinho’s leadership with Arsenal finding it hard to beat United, the result being a 2-2 draw. United are undefeated by Arsenal in the last three matches, the last defeat saw United lose 2-0 at the end of the 2016/17 season. Since the two sides last met at the start of December, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has come in and changed the landscape at the club.

Solskjaer has given his side the freedom to express themselves, which most of the time has seen United back at their best, playing attacking football, scoring goals galore and getting the results that were needed to help United get the finish they desire in the Premier League this season. In the past seven matches, United have earned 18 Premier League points (six Premier League matches), scored 19 goals, conceded just four, keeping three clean sheets.

United and Arsenal have met 228 times in the history of both clubs, dating back from the first match, Newton Heath v Woolwich Arsenal, a 3-3 draw on the 18 October 1894. United have won 98 times, drawn 48 times and lost just 82 times, meaning they are unbeaten in 64% of the matches they have played, losing 36% of matches played. Since Solskjaer took the caretaker manager role, United have won their last seven matches in all competitions, surely in form but still needing consistency and improvement.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Young, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw;

Herrera, Matic;

Lingard, Pogba, Sanchez;

Lukaku

Substitutes:

Grant; Jones, Dalot; Mata, Fred; Martial, Rashford

It is fair to say that this United team has been much better under Soldkjaer than it was under Mourinho. Some will tell you that it was all down to Mourinho, even though the problems he faced were much similar to those that Louis van Gaal and David Moyes faced. Granted, Mourinho took no prisoners and the club knew what they were getting but by no means was everything his fault. Some players needed to stand out and take account of their actions.

As the time has gone by since Mourinho’s sacking, the squad have overcome the problems sustained at the time and played much more fluid football, attacking their opposition from the start of the game in many instances. However, there have still been some bring performances to contend with; the 2-0 victory over Reading in the FA Cup, the 2-1 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend was another. Rome was not built in a day so I am not expecting miracles.

If United can take on Arsenal as they took on Tottenham Hotspur a few weeks ago, they will be in with a chance of getting something at the Emirates; in the last five meetings at the Emirates, United have won twice, lost twice and drawn once. Arsenal supporters held the bragging rights over United this season with their massive unbeaten run and the fact they were well above United. Now that they are both on par, the bragging rights have dissolved with United close to getting the better of this fallen North London club.

copyright: JW