Arsenal vs Manchester United Premier League Preview


Arsenal meet Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon in a top of the table clash as the league leaders seek revenge against the only team to have beaten them this season.

The North London side will look to extend their lead over second place Manchester City, while Manchester United hope to return to winning ways after dropping points in the midweek game against Crystal Palace.

The 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park saw the Red Devils’ nine-game winning streak come to an end after Michael Olise’s 91st minute freekick ruled out Bruno Fernandes’ first half opener.

It was an unfortunate end to the game for the Manchester side, who late on saw midfield talisman Casemiro booked for a fifth time this season, resulting in a one-match suspension and therefore unavailable for the game this afternoon.

The Brazilian has been one of Erik ten Hag’s standout players this season, with the Dutch manager relying heavily on the defensive midfielder.

The Manchester United manager said: “Casemiro is obviously a really important player for us, he’s one of the reasons we are where we are now.”

The ex-Real Madrid star averages higher tackles (4.2) and duels (8.08) per 90 minutes than United’s other midfield options Fred and Scott McTominay, despite playing more minutes than the pair.

Manchester United can find encouragement by looking back at their 3-1 victory at Old Trafford in September, where they beat Arsenal without Casemiro in the starting line-up.

Erik ten Hag added: “But last time we beat Arsenal without Casemiro so we have a squad, we have to fill the gap, make a proper plan and the squad have to fill it and make sure, as a team.

“We already showed how to beat Arsenal.”

That being said, Arsenal were also without their regular midfielder Thomas Partey, who missed the tie through injury, replaced with Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Partey, like Casemiro, has been in fine form this season, with fans often comparing the Arsenal and Manchester United’s central defensive midfielders in a debate as to who is better.

The Ghanaian will be available for selection this time round and could give Mikel Arteta’s side the edge in the midfield battle.

The North London side have bolstered their squad with the addition of Leandro Trossard who is in line to make his debut today, after signing from Brighton on Friday.

Mikel Arteta said: “We are really happy to have him. He’s a player we followed for a while.

“The opportunity came and we had the necessity for a player in the front line who is versatile.”

The Gunners are enjoying life at the top of the Premier League but will be aware of the presence of Manchester United, who many have included in the title race.

United currently sit eight points behind Arsenal but could reduce the gap to five with a win against their rivals.

Victory for Manchester United certainly keeps things interesting at the top of the table, despite Arsenal’s game in hand, although that’s against fellow title challengers Manchester City.

City could themselves close the gap behind the Gunners to just three points if they were to beat Wolves in the 2pm kick-off later today.

A must-win game for both Arsenal and Manchester United, fans will hope to see echoes of the fierce rivalry of old between the two giants.

K/O 4:30pm from the Emirates Stadium.

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Sports Journalist studying at Birmingham City University.

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