Unai Emery is expecting a ‘big challenge’ as his side travel north to play Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Emery’s Arsenal come into this game on the back of an incredible derby win – a 4-2 victory against spurs. That result made it 19 games unbeaten for the Gunners – a run which spreads over 3 months.
Manchester United however, come into this game after a disappointing away result against Southampton – a 2-2 draw. Dropping two points, the Red Devils have now fallen Eight points behind Arsenal, and fourth place.
Despite this, Man Utd will take something from the fact that Arsenal haven’t won at Old trafford, in the league, since 2008.
Asked about the upcoming match, Emery explained that “it’s a new match, a new challenge, a big challenge. It’s away and we need to continue improving our mentality away.
“It’s not normal where they are in the table. They have a lot of potential and experience with the coach, who has a big experience in the Premier League, in Europe, in world football. We respect them a lot individually and collectively, and we know it’s a very difficult match away.”
The game has been made even more difficult with Granit Xhaka being suspended due to a collection of yellow cards. Xhaka joins Nacho Monreal (Hamstring), Laurent Koscielny (Achillies), Konstantinos Mavropanos (Groin) and Danny Welbeck (Ankle) on the sidelines.
Mesut Özil is also expected to miss out again after having a back spasm last week however, it is questioned whether he would be playing in Emery’s new shape team.
Manchester United have an extended injury list too. Ashley Young is out with suspension for United, which could pave the way for summer signing Diogo Dalot to make his first Premier League start at right-back.
There are question marks hanging over a number of other players, including Romelu Lukaku and Luke Shaw, both of whom came off with knocks against Southampton.
Further, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian were not part of the matchday squad at St Mary’s, along with Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) and Victor Lindelof (muscular injury), a pair who will definitely miss out again.
Jose Mourinho was as wary of his opponents as Emery was when speaking to the media, “We will have a very difficult match. They are a good team who have had a good run of results. But in spite of our selection issues, they know it won’t be easy either.”
This will be the first time in 82 league and cup encounters between the two sides that neither Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger will be in charge of one of the teams.
A win would give the Gunners 16 away points – as many as they claimed in total on the road last season (W4, D4, L11). They have already equalled last term’s total of four away victories in the top flight.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored with his last 10 shots on target in the Premier League. Incredibly, no goalkeeper has saved against him since West Ham’s Lukasz Fabianski in August. (All match facts via BBC Sport)
Manchester United 0 – 2 Arsenal
Expected Line Ups:
Machester United: De Gea; Dalot, McTominay, Jones, Matic, Shaw; Herrera, Pogba, Fellaini; Lukaku, Martial
Arsenal: Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Holding, Kolasinac; Torreira, Guendouzi; Ramsey, Lacazette, Aubameyang.