A View From The Opposition: Arsenal vs Manchester United

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Manchester United will face Arsenal in a blockbuster fixture this weekend in their final match before September’s international break.

Both teams will be hoping for a win so that they do not have to mull over a defeat over the break of Premier League games. United came back from 2 goals down to win 3-2 at Old Trafford against Nottingham Forest last weekend. Arsenal were held 2-2 against Fulham, so both teams have started slower than they would have wanted.

The Red Devils will be praying that their long list of injuries will not be the only miserable aspect around the club as they look for consecutive Premier League wins for the first time this campaign.

A View From The Opposition:

In our first edition of this feature this season, earlier this week we spoke with James from Pain In The Arsenal, a fellow FanSided website dedicated to The Gunners:

It’s fair to say that Arsenal and United have had underwhelming starts to the 2023/24 season. A win for either side could boost their confidence before the international break. By contrast, a loss will propel either team up for a media capitulation until September 16. Even though it is so early in the season, just how important is this match?

I mean, every game between these two is significant but the respective rises of the clubs under their current managers means the contest once again has implications at the top of the table. it’s a massive game, no doubt, with question marks surrounding both teams at the start of the season – defeat for either side will only exacerbate those doubts.

Is there a reason why Arteta has tinkered with the winning formula of last season?

Arteta spoke over the summer about the need to become “unpredictable”. Arsenal deployed the same system pretty much week in, week out, and the boss felt the need to evolve, which is understandable. However, Jurrien Timber was a big part of that evolution, and his absence has somewhat limited the efficacy of Arteta’s new formula.

Do you expect Arsenal to play with the lion’s share of position at The Emirates on Sunday?

I do, Arsenal are all about control and Arteta will want his side to dominate the ball on home soil. I suspect Ten Hag will be pretty happy to let us have the ball and attempt to win the contest on the counter, just as you did at OT last season.

What starting line-up should we expect from Mikel Arteta and who could be the game changers?

There have got to be changes and I think we could see Arteta revert to last season’s system with Zinchenko and Gabriel coming back into the back four and White shifting over to right-back. Fabio Vieira may have played his way into the team, while Nketiah deserves to start up top. Vieira could be the Gunners’ X-factor on Sunday, but the two young wide men remain our most potent threats.

With United’s injury list piling up, what areas do you think The Gunners could exploit in particular?

The obvious match-up to exploit is Saka against whomever ETH opts for at left-back with Shaw out. I back Saka against pretty much anybody. Then, if Utd press high, Arsenal should have joy exploiting Casemiro as Wolves and Spurs did in your first two games. Odegaard will relish the duel with the Brazilian.

Finally, a score prediction?

I think Arsenal will be improved from their recent outings with Arteta switching back to last season’s formula. Although, United could frustrate the hosts should they opt to contain. Your threat on the counter is a concern, but I think the Gunners will edge this one. 2-1.

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