On October fourth, Arsenal welcome Manchester United to the Emirates Stadium for one of the biggest games in the Premier League season so far. The Gunners are reeling after their embarrassing 3-2 loss to Olympiacos and need a victory in the worst way. Manchester United are top of the league and looking good after their win mid week against Wolfsburg. United will look to put down a marker with a victory here at the Emirates.
Arsenal have quite a few players out with injury for this one. They’ll be without former Manchester United man Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, and Tomas Rosicky as they all continue to recover from long term injuries. They’ll be without both Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta after the pair of them picked up muscle problems against Leicester. They’ll also be without Laurent Koscielny as he is out for three weeks with a hamstring injury he picked up during the week against Olympiacos.
Manchester United will be without Luke Shaw as their left back continues to recover from his gruesome leg injury. Both Ander Herrera and Marcus Rojo will be out until after the international break, but Louis Van Gaal has said that Michael Carrick is fit and available for this match.
Manchester United are unbeaten in their last eight league matches against Arsenal. The Gunners have only one win in their last 13 Premier League matches against United. Their only win was a 1-0 win in May 2011 with Aaron Ramsey scoring the lone goal. Manchester United have the joint best defensive record in the league. Arsenal have scored only two goals league home goals so far this season. Manchester United are top for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson left.
Arsenal: Theo Walcott
Arsenal’s strikers have taken quite a lot of criticism this season, but Theo Walcott seems to be coming into his own in that position. The 26 year old has scored four goals in his last six matches and has been improving every week. The England man has looked more and more like a striker with every passing week. His hold up play has been improving the more he plays, while his finishing and movement is a good as ever. For all the flack Arsenal strikers have taken, Walcott looks like he could be exactly what they need this season.
Manchester United: Anthony Martial
For all the criticism Arsenal strikers have taken, United’s move for Martial took just as much prior to his debut. The young Frenchman has been a revelation early on in his Manchester United career. The 19 year old has scored four goals in his first five matches and has made United look a different side. The Red Devils have improved hugely since his introduction. While his rate of three goals from five shots is unsustainable, he is enjoying a fantastic start to his Manchester United career.
This is an incredibly difficult game to predict. It is nearly impossible to predict how Arsenal will respond from their loss to Olympiacos. Manchester United have been tough to predict as they have often flattered to deceive performance wise, but have been able to grind out results. In the end, I think this one will go Manchester United’s way. They’ve been able to stop a lot of their opponents from playing and have been much better in attack with the addition of Martial.
Prediction: 2-1 Manchester United