Talking tactics: Arsenal v Manchester United: 
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Thomas Partey of Arsenal and Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 1, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Visionhaus)

Arsenal continued their imposing Premier League form against Southampton on Tuesday night as they beat the Saints by three goals to one.

Meanwhile, despite their impressive league position, Manchester United suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat at the hands of a struggling Sheffield United side. 

Old foes will lock horns once again in what promises to be a captivating affair with three vital points up for grabs. 

  • Utilising the wide areas

Arsenal heavily rely on creativity from the wide areas, with Kieran Tierney and Héctor Bellerín tasked with marauding down the wings, combining with forward players and cutting the ball back for strikers in the opposition box. 

To illustrate this point, in the Premier League so far this season Arsenal have instigated attacks from the left-hand side 42% of the time, with the right-hand side being utilised 34% of the time and the remaining 24% coming through the middle. 

It remains to be seen whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be available for selection due to his mother's illness, however Nicolas Pépé impressed in midweek and was given the freedom to exploit Southampton's fullbacks.

If the Ivorian is deployed on the left-hand side, he could well do the same against Man United.

Bukayo Saka has continued to show why he is so highly regarded with another man of the match display against the Saints, registering a goal and an assist in the process.

The 19-year-old has contributed six G/A in six games when playing on the right-hand side and is expected to carry out similar duties on Saturday night. 

In Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, United also possess full-backs who like to push high up the pitch and so the space is there to be exploited by Arsenal's wide players.

The pace of Tierney and Bellerín will therefore be integral in causing trouble for United's back line and with Alexandre Lacazette in scintillating form, the Gunners could well reap the rewards. 

  • Nullifying United's counter attacks

One of United's strengths is their pace and efficiency on the counter attack, especially away from home. In Premier League away fixtures so far this season, United have scored 17% of their goals from counter-attacking situations.

In fact, no team has scored more goals from counter-attacking situations than the Red Devils in the Premier League this season and it is important that Arsenal are able to pacify the likes of Bruno Fernandes and stop counter attacks at the source.

The best way of doing this is making sure the Gunners do not hand over possession when pressed high up the pitch, and therefore press-resistant players, such as Thomas Partey and Dani Ceballos should be fielded. 

Partey has struggled for fitness thus far in the 2020/21 season, but has impressed whenever he has taken to the pitch. The Ghanaian has a natural ability to hold onto possession and in eight league appearances this season, he has had 1.1 bad touches per game and has been dispossessed only 0.3 times per game. 

Meanwhile, Real Madrid loanee Ceballos could partner Partey in the midfield. The Spaniard has registered 1.3 successful dribbles, 0.5 unsuccessful dribbles and has lost possession 0.6 times per game. These stats make for impressive reading and will be pivotal for Arsenal's success against United. 

  • A chance for newcomers to shine

Arsenal announced the signing of Martin Ødegaard from Real Madrid on loan for the remainder of the 2020/21 season and there is much cause for excitement.

The 22-year-old Norwegian midfielder is known for his creative ability following a successful loan spell at La Liga outfit Real Sociedad last season. 

Ødegaard registered seven goals and nine assists in all competitions for Txuri-urdinak in the 2019/20 season and prompted Los Blancos to recall the former Strømsgodstet youngster. 

With Emile Smith Rowe picking up a muscular injury against Southampton on Tuesday night and therefore remaining a doubt for Saturday's clash, it could be a big opportunity for Ødegaard to shine on the big stage for the Gunners

It is no secret that Arsenal have struggled to create many chances at times this season and Smith Rowe has been integral for Arsenal's creativity. However, the north London club cannot rely solely on the attacking impetus of a 20-year-old and it is believed that Ødegaard was brought in to help ease the strain on Arsenal's latest Hale End revelation. 

This fixture is a huge opportunity for Arsenal's latest signing to make his mark and secure an important three points for the Gunners as they look to climb the table. 

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