With only nine more Premier League games to go the clock is ticking…
Good day one and all.
Arsenal welcome the resuscitated Manchester United at the Emirates who are continuing their mid-season turnaround under Ole Gunnar Solskjær with 15 wins in 18 games (D2, L1) across all competitions.
Both teams were involved in European action midweek against French opposition, but as far as results are concerned fortunes couldn’t be more contrasting. It was a night to forget for Unai Emery and the Gunners as their match against Rennes ended in 3-1 defeat, while United who won by the same scoreline for a win that would make Houdini proud as they completed an unlikely comeback from a 2-0 first leg deficit to beat PSG in their own backyard. They may still have to come down from their high having put down a marker for things to come.
However, focus now switches back to domestic matters and both coaches designs to deliver a place in next season’s Champions League.
Arsenal are on a 14 match unbeaten league run at the Emirates (W12, D2), including eight consecutive wins. Ironically our last defeat in all competitions at home has been against Manutd in the FA Cup. I doubt playing at home will be much of an advantage because under OGS Manutd got a 100% success rate in away games (all competitions) – played 9, win 9 with a return of 23 GF and 3 GA.
The defeat against Rennes should not dampen any spirits, we were in control till we were reduced to 10 men. In our last league outing last Saturday at Spurs we did well and by all accounts should’ve won that match. Now we are left with a bit more to do for an immediate turnaround; and with the firepower we got we should be more than capable of doing it. However we will need to keep our heads at the back because for the visitors Lukaku and Rashford are on a purple patch.
We will be without Torreira who begins a 3 game ban, but the biggest decision to be make will be who misses out between Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil, as there has been a reluctance to start them both. Ramsey was one of the stand out players last Saturday and Özil has been in fine form since his reintroduction to the squad. Maybe playing a more natural right back wouldn’t hurt as well.
A win today will put Arsenal in a good position as we won’t be playing another ‘top-six’ rival In the run-in, but Manutd’s away form can’t be ignored, which lends itself to this being a highly entertaining and season-defining classical six-point encounter.
Time for everyone to pull their socks as high as possible and push this Gunners side to line.