Good day one and all.
The football season is into it’s Christmas stride as we kicked off festivities with an absolute firecracker of a game at the Emirates with a commanding victory over arch-rivals Totnum; and it’s off the back of that Arsenal hurtle along to Old Trafford in good spirits to take on Manchester United with one goal in mind… which is to maintain our position in the Premier League’s top-four.
The Red Devils won five and drew two of their last eight games, which would usually make one wonder what all the fuss is about the club at present, but closer inspection tells us that in their last five PL home games they won just two, lost one and had draws against bottom half sides Wolves and Crystal Palace. It’s that hit and miss home form, not helped much with a 2-2 draw away to league strugglers Southampton in their last game, that see them at 8th on the current log standings.
So José Mourinho will need to do something special, or at least different than relying on Fellaini, who has been delivering the goods for him, to win back the “respect” he demand from his seemingly omnipresent critics. He has been talking a lot about “mad dogs” recently and his number one cheerleader Gary Neville ever so subtly told him to set them on one Lucas Torreira. Good luck José, our little terrier doesn’t look like one to back out of a fight.
This is the third PL game in a seemingly difficult run following the last inter-break; and Unai Emery has proven himself to be no slouch when it comes to adjusting to the physical demands by clearly being the better team against both Bournemouth and Spurs. He also turned around our travelling fortunes and in our recent five away league games we recorded four wins and a draw, in which we scored a total of 14 goals. The PL leading goal-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang must be licking his chops to add to this tally to help the Gunners to their first league win at Old Trafford in 12 seasons.
Granit Xhaka who started an amazing run of 65 back-to-back PL games miss out today through suspension, so it will be interesting to see if Aaron Ramsey gets the nod after finding himself on the fringes of first team this all season. When he came on as a HT sub this Sunday the Welshman changed the flow of the game and was instrumental in our fightback. *eyes peeled*
It’s difficult to predict how this game will pan out, with Manutd’s flaky defence I doubt José, who is in desperate need of a win, will take the game to Arsenal. He may well instruct his team to be ultra defensive and look the sneak in a winning goal right at the death. Arsenal who registered their first win against a top-six side will look to build on that against another who’s manager said the best they can hope for in May is to finish, well, 6th.
Either way this is hands down the blockbuster fixture of this matchday and hopefully the Arsenal stretch their unbeaten run to 20.