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Sunday’s clash between Arsenal and Manchester United is a game neutral fans look forward to each year.
The intense rivalry between both squads through the years has produced some memorable moments.
There was the infamous “Battle of Old Trafford” when Ruud van Nistelrooy appeared to be responsible for the sending off of Patrick Viera.
That is just one of many epic encounters between these teams through the years who’ve often faced each other in cup ties or very important league matches.
The Reds appear to be getting healthier after a tough start to the season with injuries.
Don’t expect to see Eric Bailly suit up this weekend as he’s still injured.
Anthony Martial is serving the last game of his three-match ban and won’t be available.
The Gunners will likely be missing David Luiz (thigh), Rob Holding (hamstring), Pablo Mari (ankle), and Calum Chambers (knee) all with injuries
Mezut Ozil isn’t injured by has fallen out of favour under new manager Mikel Arteta.
There is some good news for Arsenal though as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bernd Leno, Thomas Partey and Alexandre Lacazette are all healthy and could return.
Willian is also fit and should take his spot in the starting eleven.
It’s safe to say both teams have struggled defensively in the early going.
United are fifth in goals allowed with 12 so far while the Gunners have conceded 7.
Under Arteta Arsenal has been much more attack-minded, committing fullbacks forward, leaving huge gaps for counterattacks.
The team’s defense struggles when forced out wide can lead to some high-quality scoring chances against them.
United while better of late only have themselves to blame for their early struggles defensively.
Careless passing and over-committing have been their downfall, particularly in the 6-1 hammering against Tottenham.
What to watch for
Both teams have had trouble maintaining a level of consistency so far.
Arsenal has lost their last two Premier League contests by a 1-0 score.
Man United and Arsenal will be playing on short rest.
The Reds beat Leipzig 5-0 on Wednesday.
The Gunners beat Dundalk F.C from Ireland 3-0 on Thursday in the Europa League.
Arsenal has been a hard team to get a read on since Arteta took over.
They don’t have the powerhouse team of old that dominated the league in the early 2000s.
That being said though Arteta’s tactics have shut down the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City
in the FA Cup last season, and also Chelsea.
Upfront, Alexandre Lacazette leads the way with three goals in five EPL matches.
They’re a team that when everyone’s clicking can be very dangerous.
They can be lethal on the counter-attack with youngster Saka a tricky player to track down the left whose movement in the box makes him hard to mark.
Since signing a contract extension with the club Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has gone cold.
He’s goalless in his last five Premier League matches.
Man United’s struggles at Old Trafford are well known with just one victory in all competitions so far this season.
Lately, however, they’ve maintained a strong record at home against their London rivals.
The Reds are unbeaten at home against the Gunners in their last 13 EPL fixtures.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover United are unbeaten in their last 29 league matches at home against Arsenal when they’ve scored.
Arsenal has won two of the last three Premier League meetings between both clubs.
Arteta is looking to become only the second Arsenal manager ever to win his first two games against Manchester United.
The last Arsenal manager to do that was Herbert Chapman in the 1925/26 season.
Marcus Rashford is coming into this game on a hot streak following his Champions League hat-trick against Leipzig.
Fans will fondly remember his debut with the club in 2016 when he scored twice against Arsenal.
Since that game though, Rashford’s not scored in any of his last nine games against the Gunners.
United will look for win #2 at Old Trafford on Sunday against the Gunners, kickoff is 4:30 pm. (JSL)