Manchester United vs Arsenal Preview

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Manchester United and Arsenal lock horns in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, with both clubs sitting in the bottom half of the table.

After three defeats in only six outings, the Gunners sit in 11th spot, while United are 15th after claiming just seven points from their opening five fixtures.

While it’s early days, three points will be huge for either side.

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Anthony Martial remains absent for United as he serves the final game of his three-match ban, while Alex Telles will miss a number of fixtures after a positive coronavirus test.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to stick with the diamond formation which worked so well against RB Leipzig, leaving Mason Greenwood in line to partner Marcus Rashford in attack.

Solskjaer

Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek will likely be the two players to miss out in the centre of the pitch.

Mikel Arteta may be prepared to drop one of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette now that Willian is back in contention after injury.

With Bukayo Saka having also shaken off a recent knock, the youngster could feature down the left, allowing Aubameyang to play through the middle.

David Luiz is likely to miss out for the Gunners through injury, increasing the chances of Arteta deploying a back four.

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After United were outclassed on every level by Tottenham Hotspur before the October international break, Solskjaer found himself facing a string of difficult fixtures.

While many observers expected United to succumb tamely to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Leipzig, the 6-1 demolition at the hands of Spurs has only acted as the catalyst for an unforeseen unbeaten streak.

Since the late flurry of goals at Newcastle United, United have collected maximum points from their two Champions League games, as well as earning a share of the spoils at home to Chelsea on the domestic scene.

Mikel Arteta

Although Solskjaer and his squad would have been relatively content with the goalless draw against the Blues, the manner of their 5-0 triumph over Leipzig has naturally led to a change in expectations.

United have scored 11 times and conceded just two goals since the middle of the month, leaving them nicely poised ahead of a fixture which will be regarded as a must-win if they are to make quick headway up the standings.

Seemingly aided by the leadership skills which he has displayed off the pitch, Marcus Rashford is beginning to show more of a ruthless streak in front of goal.

Marcus Rashford

His five strikes and two assists have come from his last 297 minutes of action, a run which has contributed to keeping Edinson Cavani among the United substitutes for the time being.

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Arsenal boss Arteta was hoping for Aubameyang to showcase the same kind of firepower in front of goal, especially with the Gabon international having been rewarded for his previous form with a lucrative new deal.

Unlike Rashford, however, Aubameyang has looked a shadow of the player who ended last season as one of the best attackers in Europe, highlighting the reliance which had been placed on his shoulders.

With his only goal in his last six appearances coming against Rapid Vienna in the Europa League, Arteta will hope that the 31-year-old can benefit from not being required against Dundalk in the Europa League.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Only Lacazette has scored more than once in the top flight this season, while lapses in concentration at the back have left Arsenal without a clean sheet since the opening weekend of the campaign.

In Arsenal’s defence, they have already made trips to Liverpool and Manchester City, meaning that visits to three of the big six will be out of the way by the end of the week.

Most supporters would feel content if a point can be secured at the Theatre of Dreams, even if it means a longer spell being spent around the mid-table positions.

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