A shock defeat for Manchester United this midweek saw them lose precious ground in the Premier League title race, as their 2-1 loss to Sheffield United raised plenty of questions over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team ahead of their trip to North London this weekend.
At the Emirates Stadium wait Arsenal, who sit second in the Premier League form table, with just one loss in their last six – and it’s a huge chance for Mikel Arteta’s side to show what they’re made of as they look to push up the league table.
After a day off in preparation for the clash with United, Arsenal could expect the debut of Martin Ødegaard, who this week made the temporary switch from Real Madrid, with the twenty-two-year-old looking to provide the Gunners with some creativity from midfield. However, Arteta was imperative that an assessment in training would be crucial before selection in his pre-match press conference.
Uncertainty lies in whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be available, as the last two games for the Gabon international have been missed for personal reasons. Arteta suggested that ‘things are looking better’, but it is unlikely he’ll return for the game with the Red Devils.
Both Thomas Partey and Emile Smith-Rowe will be assessed prior to kick-off but the likelihood is that the pair will be available for selection, despite both limping off against Southampton with muscle injuries. Kieran Tierney is probable, but not definite, for selection.
With the below-par performance for Axel Tuanzebe against the Blades in midweek, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes that Eric Bailly will be fit for the trip to North London, as a knock in training ruled him out of this week’s fixture.
Indeed, though Anthony Martial took a tumble early on against Sheffield United, he will most likely be available for the fixture, though his recent poor form could lead to a start for Edinson Cavani ahead of the Frenchman.
Though Fred and Scott McTominay were rested against the Blades in midweek, the pair could return to their usual pivot in midfield, as Solskjaer has accustomed to in bigger games this season – but there has been no update on Brandon Williams, whose recent injury has kept him out of the squad. His fellow left-back Luke Shaw, however, could well start in an effort to maintain his superb recent form – despite Alex Telles getting an assist during the week.
Arsenal: (4-2-3-1) Leno; Soares, Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Smith-Rowe, Pepe; Lacazette
Manchester United: (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani