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Ratings: Fernandes and a Ronaldo brace see Arsenal defeated with Carrick undefeated as he leaves the club

Manchester United beat Arsenal 3-2 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Thursday evening. The Red Devils fell foul to a strange goal after David De Gea was down on the floor after being stood on by Fred and Emile Smith Rowe scoring a stunning goal from range. Bruno Fernandes, assisted by Fred, levelled the match in the 44th minute. Seven minutes into the second half, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 800th career goal to put United ahead before Martin Odegaard equalised. Ronaldo’s penalty saw United ahead again to take all three points from the match. Crystal Palace will travel to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

United started off well but you could see that Arsenal were at Old Trafford to take some points away from the Red Devils, as they did last season. Carrick’s side seemed more confident than they had been in recent weeks, having had two good results against Villarreal and Chelsea. The game was there for the taking. However, United conceded a goal in the 13th minute of the match. Fred stamped on David De Gea’s foot, he was down on the ground and Emile Smith Rowe powered his shot towards goal and it went in. The referee looked to have his whistle near his mouth at the time, but he did not blow up for a foul or anything. The goal was given.

United tried to get back into the game. It was a long period before they got something to write home about. This United side had lots of talent and it was starting to look good for them. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave United something the club needed; a plan, direction and he reset the way of life at the club for the better. He will gain more praise when things have been achieved as without him it would never have happened like this. Carrick seemed interested in kicking on and this United side showed some determination against Arsenal. It was almost like this team have decided to start performing because they know what could happen for them now.

In the 44th minute of the match, Bruno Fernandes scored his fifth goal of the season with Fred laying in the assist. It was a great goal for the Portuguese midfielder. United were back in the game and would need to find a way of getting ahead and pushing on to win the match. It was a positive result at the break for United and that would guide them into the second half to try and get the win. That was exactly what United needed to do, helping to claw some points back from their poor period over the last few months, getting closer to the summit of the table than the mid level of the table.

Seven minutes into the second half, United took the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo, assisted by Marcus Rashford, scoring his eleventh goal of the season and the 800th goal in his career. It was a good goal for the Portuguese superstar and an even better one for the morale of the team, also building on the confidence of this season. However, just two minutes later, Arsenal had levelled through Martin Odegaard which was a shame. United now had something to work for again and would need to get there in order to take the points in this match. With Ralf Rangnick watching, the players would need to dig deep and push for this victory.

In the 70th minute of the match, Fred was taken out in the box and a penalty should have been awarded. However, the referee did not give anything and play continued. VAR assessed the penalty and gave the referee a chance to view the foul in the box. The penalty was given. Ronaldo took it, scoring his twelfth goal of the season and his 801st goal of his career. It put United back in the lead and gunning for the three points in this match. Arsenal would not take that lying down. It was convincing for United, who had definitely improved since Carrick took the help of the club, albeit temporarily. The future is going to be considerably better.

United found Arsenal trying to barrage them in the last twenty minute of the match and that was weathered well. Carrick made his first change of the match with Jesse Lingard replacing Rashford in the 79th minute of the match. Nine minutes later, after Ronaldo bust a gut to get into the box for a late attack, he was replaced by Anthony Martial. Two minutes after that, Donny van de Beek replaced Bruno Fernandes. It all seemed certain for United to get their first Premier League victory at home since their 4-1 victory over Newcastle United in the 11 September and their first league victory since the 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on the 30 October.

After the match, it was announced that Carrick was stepping down from his role as a coach, leaving the club this evening, which is a shame. He has done well over the last three matches and it will be remembered well by the supporters of the club. Perhaps he wants to cut his teeth in management elsewhere, which is fair enough. United will return to Premier League action, against at Old Trafford on Sunday when they welcome Crystal Palace to the Theatre of Dreams seeking to get one over the London club after their 3-1 victory in this fixture at the star of last season. Rangnick’s United will emerge and the start of a new era will commence.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded a goal with him on the floor after being stood on by Fred. He protested it though but it stood. His save at 1-1 was important for United. Stood firm in his role as goalkeeper as United took the points from this match.

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20 Diogo Dalot

Sloppy at the start but he grew into the game. His positioning was key for United. He launched a shot on goal, which could have tested Arsenal. Seemed to be the attacking right-back that could thrive at United under Rangnick. Played a key pass for Ronaldo's goal. After this performance, he should play more.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Seemed uncomfortable at set-pieces, which was United's Achilles heel recently. He defended well and did what he needed to do. No clean sheet but three points in the bag - deservedly so.

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5 Harry Maguire

Steeped up for the big occasion. United needed this win over Arsenal. He helped provide the attack with balls and he defended resolutely. This Maguire needs to continue showing up to matches.

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27 Alex Telles

Performed well for much of the match. Seemed settled in his role and determined to keep his place in the team. However, he was dragged out of his position by Martinelli who set up Smith Rowe. Mistakes happen and it will be a learning curve. Other than that, he played his part in the match.

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17 Fred

Started poorly, especially standing in De Gea's foot and United conceding a goal. Seemed off at times. His passing was shoddy and he needed a lot of improvement. He set up Fernandes in the 44th minute and seemed to get better as theme grew on. Won a penalty in the 70th minute, which was the winner for United.

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39 Scott McTominay

Used his aggression to put himself about in the midfield. Booked for a foul in added time at the end of the first half. Did not seem to care about it either. He tired in the second half, but still offered United something.

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25 Jadon Sancho

One of the best players on the pitch in this match. It is great for Sancho right now. He was one of the players that sparked for United in their bid to recover from that first Arsenal goal.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Did not seem to be in his best form and was sloppy at times. That happens in football a lot. What matters was that he was where he was when Fred played him the ball to equalise in the 44th minute of the match. He was replaced by Van de Beek in the 90th minute.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Does not fit United's plan on the right, which is where Sancho needs to be playing. Showed good vision picking out Ronaldo for United's second goal of the game. Replaced by Lingard in the 79th minute.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

The first half was not the best for him, but matches are always two halves. He threatened more from the start of the second half, seeing an effort denied by Ramsdale before Ronaldo put United ahead, scoring his 800th career goal in the 52nd minute of the match. He scored a penalty in the 70th minute to seal the victory for United. MOTM for me. Replaced by Martial in the 88th minute.

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Substitutes

14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Rashford 79'. Gave his energy but that was alone brought to the game. It seems clear that his time at United could be over, however, that could all change for him now if he works hard and changes his form massively.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Ronaldo 88'. Brought some energy and seemed to be looking to improve himself, which will be needed under Rangnick.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Fernandes 90'. Came on in the last minute of the match. Not enough time to get involved. Maybe he will play more under Rangnick?

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 44′, Cristiano Ronaldo 52′, 70′ penalty; Emile Smith Rowe 13′, Martin Odegaard 54′

Assists: Fred 44′, Marcus Rashford 52′; Mohamed Elneny 13′, Gabriel Martinelli 54′

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Fred, McTominay; Sancho, Fernandes (Van de Beek 90′), Rashford (Lingard 79′); Ronaldo (Martial 88′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Jones; Mata; Greenwood, Amad

Bookings: Scott McTominay 45+1′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Ronaldo, Sancho, Fernandes and Rashford start against Arsenal; Van de Beek on the bench

Manchester United welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford in the Premier League this evening, their seventh home match in the league this season. Of the previous six, United have won two, drawn once and lost three times. Winning matches at home again will be a must for United, who need to start turning their season around. A 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday saw United rise from the ashes after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and they will be on another new path under Ralf Rangnick this week, which will separate the men from the boys in this team. United finally need to lock on and show some improvement on their new road to success.

Arsenal are a team in good form at this time, winning five of their last six matches, losing the other. It is much better form than United are in with two wins, two draws and two defeats in their last six matches. In this match last season, Paul Pogba gave away a penalty which saw Arsenal leave the Theatre of Dreams with three points before the 0-0 draw at the Emirates, which saw Arsenal gain four points and United just one in the two matches. Beating Arsenal will be important for United as they start a busy December to try and edge their way back into contention for the Premier League title, with the Champions League knockouts in the bag.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles;

Fred, McTominay;

Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford;

Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Jones; Mata, Lingard, Van de Beek; Martial, Greenwood, Amad

Arsenal:

Ramsdale;

Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares;

Martinelli, Partey, Odegaard, Elneny, Smith-Rowe;

Aubameyang

Substitutes:

Okonkwo; Tierney, Holding; Saka, Maitland-Niles, Lokonga; Lacazette, Pepe, Nketiah

United and Arsenal have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 24 times, drawn 18 times with the Gunners winning the remaining 16 matches. United have scored 78 goals, winning six penalties and scoring four of them. Arsenal have scored 61 goals, winning four penalties and scoring two of them. United have kept a total of 17 clean sheets with Arsenal keeping 19. United players have been shown a total of 119 yellow cards and five red cards in this fixture with Arsenal players shown a total of 124 yellow cards and four red cards. United will be needing this to be a good game for them.

A total of 16 players have played for both United and Arsenal. 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. The most successful of these is Van Persie who signed for United in the summer of 2012 and helped United to their last Premier League title victory in the final season of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign of the club. The Dutchman made 105 appearances for United, scoring 58 goals and 21 assists, winning the trophy that evaded him at Arsenal.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-3] Ronaldo, Rashford, Sancho and Fernandes the key to beating Arsenal? Rangnick will be watching and taking notes on this squad

Manchester United welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Thursday evening, their seventh home match in the league this season. Of the previous six, United have won two, drawn once and lost three times. Winning matches at home again will be a must for United, who need to start turning their season around. A 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday saw United rise from the ashes after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and they will be on another new path under Ralf Rangnick this week, which will separate the men from the boys in this team. United finally need to lock on and show some improvement on their new road to success.

Arsenal are a team in good form at this time, winning five of their last six matches, losing the other. It is much better form than United are in with two wins, two draws and two defeats in their last six matches. In this match last season, Paul Pogba gave away a penalty which saw Arsenal leave the Theatre of Dreams with three points before the 0-0 draw at the Emirates, which saw Arsenal gain four points and United just one in the two matches. Beating Arsenal will be important for United as they start a busy December to try and edge their way back into contention for the Premier League title, with the Champions League knockouts in the bag.

Previous meetings with Arsenal and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Arsenal have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 24 times, drawn 18 times with the Gunners winning the remaining 16 matches. United have scored 78 goals, winning six penalties and scoring four of them. Arsenal have scored 61 goals, winning four penalties and scoring two of them. United have kept a total of 17 clean sheets with Arsenal keeping 19. United players have been shown a total of 119 yellow cards and five red cards in this fixture with Arsenal players shown a total of 124 yellow cards and four red cards. United will be needing this to be a good game for them.

A total of 16 players have played for both United and Arsenal. 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. The most successful of these is Van Persie who signed for United in the summer of 2012 and helped United to their last Premier League title victory in the final season of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign of the club. The Dutchman made 105 appearances for United, scoring 58 goals and 21 assists, winning the trophy that evaded him at Arsenal.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Arsenal in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Thursday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea is crucial for United this season. The form he is in at the moment is why United have not been embarrassed as much as they could have been. The defence has been a joke and the captain of the club has let the club down time and time again – but that is for him to worry about with a new manager impending. De Gea has saved United’s blushes in the last two fixtures with United undefeated and conceding just one goal, compared to the four conceded in one game against Watford, which was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s final match as manager of the club. De Gea will be seeking to kick on this season but Dean Henderson could be a problem.

Henderson played well last season, playing a different goalkeeping role to De Gea and Rangnick will want to test both keepers as soon as he can to find out which one suits the formation and playing style that he will implement at the club. De Gea is experienced but Henderson is the keeper for the future who will be determined to show his good attributes to the new manager, seeking to take his place as the number one goalkeeper for the club. It is early days yet as we do not know what Rangnick will implement at the club, we can only go on his playing style from his management past. That said, it is a positive appointment for the club.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence seem to have improved in the last two matches but there is still along way to go before they can be considered an actual improvement. It seems clear that players have let the club down this season which saw the end of Solskjaer. Against Arsenal, it seems imperative that United should try and keep a clean sheet and the defence will need to be strong as they pose a massive threat. Aaron Wan-Bissaka should play in the right-back position but he will need to find some form as he has been terrible at times. With the January transfer window a month away, he could get some competition if Rangnick feels it is needed.

Luke Shaw should return to his left-back role, if he is fit enough to do so. Alex Telles will fill in if he is not. I feel that Shaw’s form needs improvement and he will need to be playing in the team to achieve that. It may not be perfect from the start but we know what he is capable of and he could find his feet again, as he did last season. In the centre of the defence, Victor Lindelof should keep his place, he was a positive influence against Chelsea, after that initial mistake. Harry Maguire is eligible to feature for United after his one-match suspension for his red card against Watford and he owes the United supporters a good performance – over to you, Harry.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes

United’s midfield needs an injection and Rangnick will be the best person to determine what is needed. With Paul Pogba out of contract in the summer the club will need to bring in a positive replacement – one that could fill-in with defensive work in the midfield and offer some creativity. That said, Carrick will need to pick from the players he has right now and with Pogba injured, he will need to select the right balance of players to offer something against Arsenal. I believe that Scott McTominay could offer something, possibly in the defensive area, which he has played in at times and always seems to provide energy and determination.

Donny van de Beek should also start, despite tailing off from his form against Watford in the victory over Villarreal. He came on late against Chelsea and should have perhaps played more minutes in the match, but he might have been saved for the Arsenal match with rotation key in December with a number of matches on the horizon. Bruno Fernandes will keep his place, playing in the advanced role, which he could balance with Van de Beek, who offers a threat in the advanced areas himself and will be seeking to earn his place under the new United manager, despite him being linked with a move away from the club in January.

Forward: Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford

United’s attacking line has a lot of potential and talent but it needs to be delved into with a precise way of playing to guarantee creativity, supply and more importantly, the goals needed to win matches. Jadon Sancho has scored two goals in his last two matches for the club, which has started his career at the club after a seemingly slow start, loss of form and some kind of inability to win matches for the club as a whole. A corner could have been turned in that respect. His confidence will be a lot higher now that it was a month or so ago, which is a good sign for the new era under Rangnick. He should start against Arsenal.

Marcus Rashford should also start and with Sancho, the duo could flank Cristiano Ronaldo, who should be the main striker in the team. If Edinson Cavani is close to fitness, perhaps a two-man strike force could be attained, but I don’t think it will be something that happens in this match as the Uruguayan will not be fit enough to get involved but for the remainder of the month, there is something to build on, even if it is just for the remainder of the season. Ronaldo has scored ten goals since returning to the club, Rashford has three so far this season with Sancho’s two. Mason Greenwood has four goals but his fitness will be lacking after his covid spell.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles; Jesse Lingard, Fred, Nemanja Matic; Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani

Carrick will be able to name nine substitutes in the Premier League, using three of them. The substitutes will need to provide something that United were short of in the match, so there will need to be an array of talent on the bench. I would expect Dean Henderson to be the goalkeeper on the bench, ready to step in should he be given the opportunity to show his worth in this team, which will come at some point once Rangnick gets started as the interim manager of the club. In defence, I would expect to see both Eric Bailly and Alex Telles, who will be ready to get involved should the defence need some strengthening at any point in the match.

In the midfield, Jesse Lingard, Fred and Nemanja Matic could all offer something at some point in the match. The former needs to start living up to his expectations and show some worth as a starting player before he’s given the chance again, despite his contract expiring in the summer and him being likely to leave the club. Fred has shown some improvement, apart from that late lob on the goalkeeper against Chelsea. Matic still has something to offer. In attack, Anthony Martial, who needs to raise his game and find some form, Mason Greenwood, who just needs to reach optimum fitness and Edinson Cavani could all be available.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Carrick must pick a team capable of beating Arsenal with Rangnick commencing his role soon

Manchester United -v- Arsenal

Premier League

Ole Trafford, Manchester

Thursday 2 December 2021, KO 20:15 GMT

Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Lee Betts, Richard West

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR: Andre Marriner Assistant VAR: Matthew Wilkes

Manchester United welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Thursday evening, their seventh home match in the league this season. Of the previous six, United have won two, drawn once and lost three times. Winning matches at home again will be a must for United, who need to start turning their season around. A 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday saw United rise from the ashes after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and they will be on another new path under Ralf Rangnick this week, which will separate the men from the boys in this team. United finally need to lock on and show some improvement on their new road to success.

Arsenal are a team in good form at this time, winning five of their last six matches, losing the other. It is much better form than United are in with two wins, two draws and two defeats in their last six matches. In this match last season, Paul Pogba gave away a penalty which saw Arsenal leave the Theatre of Dreams with three points before the 0-0 draw at the Emirates, which saw Arsenal gain four points and United just one in the two matches. Beating Arsenal will be important for United as they start a busy December to try and edge their way back into contention for the Premier League title, with the Champions League knockouts in the bag.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: DWLLDW

Chelsea 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-0 W, Watford 4-1 L, Manchester City 2-0 L, Atalanta 2-2 D, Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 W

Goals: 10 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Jesse Lingard, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Fred, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Paul Pogba, 2 – Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luke Shaw, 1 – Mason Greenwood, Jesse Lingard, Raphael Varane

Arsenal – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLWWWW

Newcastle United 2-0 W, Liverpool 4-0 L, Watford 1-0 W, Leicester City 2-0 W, Leeds United 2-0 W, Aston Villa 3-1 W

Goals: 7 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 5 – Emile Smith Rowe, 3 – Alexandre Lacazette, Bukayo Saka, 2 – Eddie Nketiah, 1 – Calum Chambers, Gabriel Magalhães, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Ødegaard, Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pépé

Assists: 3 – Nicolas Pépé, 2 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, 1 – Alexandre Lacazette, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Martin Ødegaard, Cédric Soares, Nuno Tavares, Takehiro Tomiyasu

Previous meetings with Arsenal and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Arsenal have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 24 times, drawn 18 times with the Gunners winning the remaining 16 matches. United have scored 78 goals, winning six penalties and scoring four of them. Arsenal have scored 61 goals, winning four penalties and scoring two of them. United have kept a total of 17 clean sheets with Arsenal keeping 19. United players have been shown a total of 119 yellow cards and five red cards in this fixture with Arsenal players shown a total of 124 yellow cards and four red cards. United will be needing this to be a good game for them.

A total of 16 players have played for both United and Arsenal. 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. The most successful of these is Van Persie who signed for United in the summer of 2012 and helped United to their last Premier League title victory in the final season of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign of the club. The Dutchman made 105 appearances for United, scoring 58 goals and 21 assists, winning the trophy that evaded him at Arsenal.

Team News: Paul Pogba and Raphaël Varane to miss Arsenal match? Harry Maguire eligible to feature and the club will be sweating on the fitness of Luke Shaw and Edinson Cavani ahead of the match.

Paul Pogba (Thigh) and Raphael Varane (Thigh) have been ruled out of the clash with Arsenal at Old Trafford on Thursday evening. The former could be out until the New Year with the latter expected to be fit around the time United face Crystal Palace on Sunday, so there could be a chance that he returns against Arsenal, although with what happened last time he was injured, I would not like to see him come back too soon. Harry Maguire was suspended against Chelsea and will be back in action against Arsenal. Luke Shaw also missed the match and is expected to be eligible to face Arsenal once again. Edinson Cavani could still be out with a Tendon injury.

Sead Kolasinac (Ankle/Foot) and Granit Xhaka (Knee) have both been ruled out of the trip to the Theatre of Dreams to face United through injury. Arsenal have made do without the duo so far this season so will continue without them for the foreseeable future. Bukayo Saka has a 25% chance to feature against United after coming off in the second half with some kind of injury. He scored the opening goal for Arsenal and will be a blow if he does miss Thursday’s fixture as he is considered as one of the clubs better players. That said, they have ample players to field if he does not make it but I reckon he will.

Predicted Starting XI: Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes to lead the attack against Arsenal? Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay in midfield?

Carrick has set United up positively in the past two matches following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, winning one match and drawing to the Premier League leaders, which was a positive result at Stamford Bridge. United have Ralf Rangnick announced as the new manager and it is expected that he will assume his role soon but Carrick will be the manager for a third match at least. It is imperative that United find their feet and kick on because the new era under Rangnick will be a tough one for many as there are passengers in this squad this season and that should not be the case. Each player should be hungry to achieve something at this club.

I expect David De Gea to keep his place in goal, especially after his performance against Chelsea on Sunday. The back four should consist of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who will be seeking improvement to impress the new manager, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, who returns from suspension and Luke Shaw, who should be fit following his head injury against Watford. If not, Alex Telles will take his place again. In midfield, in a 4-3-3 formation, which will change during the match, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek and Bruno Fernandes should all start with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho flanking Cristiano Ronaldo.

Match Prediction: Beating Arsenal will be a big confidence boost for United but a management change will not change much overnight. It will take some time for things to be perfected and change for the good.

Last season, United failed to beat Arsenal, losing 1-0 at Old Trafford and drawing 0-0 at the Emirates. This season, things will need to improve as Arsenal are currently above United in the Premier League table, sitting in fifth place, which will change ahead of kick off on Thursday evening as this fixture is the last of ten to be played with two matches on Tuesday, six on Wednesday and the final two matches on Thursday evening. United 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Sunday saw United amass 18 points in the league this season, five adrift of Arsenal (23) which shows the improvement that United will need to make to get back up there with the teams at the top.

United can play positive football. Against both Villarreal and Chelsea, there were periods of poor football but United stopped conceding poor goals, which had come in the matches prior to those. With a better quality of coaching and some better tactics, United will play a better brand of football overall but it will not happen overnight. It is likely that it will take a period of weeks for the players to learn new tactics and perfect them – not all players will be like this – some will pick it up pretty quickly. United will eventually turn that corner and be much better for it. The only way is up from here and that is the only direction United need to travel.

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal

Written by John Walker

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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21 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

Confirmed XI: Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford and Greenwood start against Arsenal; Van de Beek on the bench

Manchester United return to Premier League action by welcoming Arsenal to Old Trafford this afternoon. United may have started October with a devastating defeat to Tottenham Hotspur but ended in a high with a 5-0 thriller against RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team turning their fortunes around. Mikel Arteta will be seeking to get back to winning ways after two defeats in the Premier League; Manchester City 1-0 and Leicester City 1-0 and might feel they have what it takes to defeat United because of their position in the league, which at the time of writing was 15th – Arsenal were 11th.

Despite being without Anthony Martial for the third match in the league, having the player available to play in the Champions League, the arrival of Edinson Cavani during the summer transfer window gave United another option, despite the fact the Uruguayan has not yet started a match for the club, which could come this weekend. Marcus Rashford is also in good form, scoring five goals in his last five matches, also adding two assists. Solskjaer will be happy with the player who has excelled both on and off the pitch recently. Fred is also a player worthy of the plaudits with his form in October becoming outstanding, which suggests he could start again.

United have a busy month in November, starting with the home clash with Arsenal, then an away trip to Turkey to face Istanbul Basaksehir (4/11) in the Champions League before travelling to Goodison Park to face Everton in the Premier League (7/11). The final international break of 2020 will then see club football on hold for a fortnight. United then face West Bromwich Albion (21/11) in the Premier League and welcome Istanbul Basaksehir to Old Trafford in the Champions League (24/11) before ending the month away ay St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League. United should be able better their Premier League position.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay, Pogba;

Fernandes;

Rashford, Greenwood

Substitutes:

Henderson; Tuanzebe, Williams; Mata, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani

Arsenal:

Leno;

Bellerin, dos Santos, Holding, Tierney;

Elneny, Partey, Saka;

Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang

Substitutes:

Runarsson; Mustafi; Ceballos, Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Xhaka; Nketiah

United and Arsenal have played 56 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 24, drawn 17 and lost 15 times. United have scored a total of 78 goals against Arsenal with the Gunners scoring 60. United have won six penalties against Arsenal, scoring four with Arsenal winning three and scoring just one. United have kept 16 clean sheets with Arsenal keeping 17 – just one more than United. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 113 yellow cards with Arsenal being shown 120. Five United players have been sent off against Arsenal with the Gunners having four players sent off in this fixture.

At Old Trafford last season, it was a 1-1 draw between these two teams with Scott McTominay, assisted by Marcus Rashford scoring the opening goal inf the 45th minute of the match with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, assisted by Bukaya Saka equalising in the 58th minute to share the points in that match. At the Emirates, United were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal last season with Nicolas Pepe opening the scoring in the eighth minute of the match with Sokratis doubling the lead in the 42nd minute of the match. United have played three matches at Old Trafford in the Premier League so far this season and have two defeats and one draw – winning this is important.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-1-2] Rashford and Greenwood to lead the line? A midfield diamond against the Gunners?

Manchester United return to Premier League action by welcoming Arsenal to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. United may have started October with a devastating defeat to Tottenham Hotspur but ended in a high with a 5-0 thriller against RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team turning their fortunes around. Mikel Arteta will be seeking to get back to winning ways after two defeats in the Premier League; Manchester City 1-0 and Leicester City 1-0 and might feel they have what it takes to defeat United because of their position in the league, which at the time of writing was 15th – Arsenal were 11th.

Despite being without Anthony Martial for the third match in the league, having the player available to play in the Champions League, the arrival of Edinson Cavani during the summer transfer window gave United another option, despite the fact the Uruguayan has not yet started a match for the club, which could come this weekend. Marcus Rashford is also in good form, scoring five goals in his last five matches, also adding two assists. Solskjaer will be happy with the player who has excelled both on and off the pitch recently. Fred is also a player worthy of the plaudits with his form in October becoming outstanding, which suggests he could start again.

United have a busy month in November, starting with the home clash with Arsenal, then an away trip to Turkey to face Istanbul Basaksehir (4/11) in the Champions League before travelling to Goodison Park to face Everton in the Premier League (7/11). The final international break of 2020 will then see club football on hold for a fortnight. United then face West Bromwich Albion (21/11) in the Premier League and welcome Istanbul Basaksehir to Old Trafford in the Champions League (24/11) before ending the month away ay St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League. United should be able better their Premier League position.

How United have faired against Arsenal teams in the Premier League.

United and Arsenal have played 56 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 24, drawn 17 and lost 15 times. United have scored a total of 78 goals against Arsenal with the Gunners scoring 60. United have won six penalties against Arsenal, scoring four with Arsenal winning three and scoring just one. United have kept 16 clean sheets with Arsenal keeping 17 – just one more than United. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 113 yellow cards with Arsenal being shown 120. Five United players have been sent off against Arsenal with the Gunners having four players sent off in this fixture.

At Old Trafford last season, it was a 1-1 draw between these two teams with Scott McTominay, assisted by Marcus Rashford scoring the opening goal inf the 45th minute of the match with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, assisted by Bukaya Saka equalising in the 58th minute to share the points in that match. At the Emirates, United were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal last season with Nicolas Pepe opening the scoring in the eighth minute of the match with Sokratis doubling the lead in the 42nd minute of the match. United have played three matches at Old Trafford in the Premier League so far this season and have two defeats and one draw – winning this is important.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Arsenal in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has vastly grown in stature during October with stand out performances against Newcastle United, Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig, also playing well against Chelsea. Gone are the thoughts of that defeat to Spurs at the start of the month. A new month brings new challenges for De Gea and United and I am sure both will be up for the challenge. The longer the Spaniard performs well, the greater his confidence grows and the better United will be for it. Solskjaer will be impressed with his goalkeeper, who has performed well, turning his poor form into something to brag about so far.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence have kept two clean sheets in consecutive matches against Chelsea and RB Leipzig, which is a good start and shows the corner that has been turned since the start of October. November is going to be another tough month for United and I am sure the club and the players will be seeking to take that by the scruff of the neck and let their opposition know that United are back and ready to take on all comers. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should keep their places in the fullback positions and captain Harry Maguire should keep his place. Axel Tuanzebe could do a job against Arsenal after the job he did in Paris just a week and a half ago.

Midfield Diamond: Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Fred, Bruno Fernandes

United have a great set of midfielders this season and the depth is a lot better than it was last season. Many of those players are in form, one is a player who has not started much and the media and agenda-driven supporters create something over nothing to continue their barrage of abuse towards the manager and the club that they apparently support. Against Arsenal, a midfield diamond of Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Fred and Bruno Fernandes could do the job needed by Solskjaer in bettering United’s league position. Donny van de Beek could replace either Fernandes or Pogba in the second half to get the job done, if needed.

Forwards: Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood

Anthony Martial will sit out one more match due to suspension which means that Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood could feature for United. Rashford scored a hat-trick against Leipzig on Wednesday with Greenwood scoring the first of five goals in that match. It may seem harsh that Edinson Cavani is not going to start for United, given the fact that Martial is suspended for this match but he could be a good impact player from the bench. United have a wealth of talent across the squad this season with just a few changes in the summer. Cavani will get his chance to start in the coming month. Confidence is the key for attacking players.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay; Edinson Cavani

Solskjaer has hit back at the Premier League’s choice to reduce the number of substitutions back down to three this season with the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League using up to five for the remainder of the season. Against Arsenal, Dean Henderson will keep his place on the bench but probably will not be needed. In defence, Victor Lindelof and Brandon Williams could be available if needed. In midfield, Juan Mata, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay could offer their footballing brains and energy to grind out a result if needed. In attack, Edinson Cavani will be the only attacking minded player with Martial suspended for the final match.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW