The Gunners (Arsenal) vs Red Devils (Manchester United) face-off tonight.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces yet another young, dynamic and tactically astute manager (well Frank Lampard isn’t tactically astute but let’s move on) in Mikel Arteta on Sunday. Ole’s side are on an incredible high, they come into this match having swatted away the RB Leipzig side with a very assured performance. Arsenal too passed their mid-week assignment with considerable ease. The two teams are however not in such fine form when it comes to domestic league, Arsenal are 13th while United are 15th in the Premier League table. Arsenal in particular faced a demoralizing defeat last time out in the league when they came up against Leicester at the Emirates. The Gunners were absolutely dominant in the first half but couldn’t translate it into a goal. The Foxes came with a plan, they sat back, absorbed the pressure and then hit back with devastating pace after the introduction of the prolific Jamie Vardy. This particular game might be the exact blueprint that Ole would like to implement for the game, the Red Devils are the most content when they sit back and play on the counter.
The two managers have been quite flexible when it comes to employing different formations and strategies. Apart from the usual 4-3-3, Ole has found success in a 5-3-2 and 4-4-2 diamond, either of which could be seen on display at Old Trafford on Sunday night. Arteta too likes to tinker with his formation often deploying a three at the back. Whatever formation he plays, he would be hoping that he is main man Aubameyang comes to the party, the Gabonese star has looked a little off color since the beginning of the season.
Arsenal are likely to be without their skipper David Luiz while Martial will be serving the last game of his suspension. But surely it will be the Gunners who’ll miss the presence of the Brazilian centre-back and will likely have to bring in Mustafi as his replacement.
Players to watch out for:
Thomas Partey, Arsenal’s acquisition from Atletico Madrid can have a huge impact on the game, the midfielder brings solidity in the centre of the pitch while simultaneously having an eye to play splitting passes further up the field. For the home side, Marcus Rashford will look to continue his supreme form, the 23-old Mancunian can do no wrong and will hope that he can do the same on Sunday night.