Ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Arsenal at The Emirates, we have Craig Scott from The Same Old Arsenal podcast giving his thoughts on the rivalry…
Growing up as a kid other than Spurs, it was always the Manchester United game that I’d look for next when the fixtures were released. Over the years this fixture has created moments that will live in the minds of Gooners and United fans alike.
We have the battle of Old Trafford, That Wiltord goal, The Van Nistelrooy penalty miss, Henrys last min header, we can go on and on. There is no argument that Arsenal v Manchester United is one of the most anticipated fixtures of the season, Well for me anyway.
The first ever game played by these two clubs being on 13th October 1894 finishing in a 3-3 draw, but you if you search the history books you will see that the two clubs had rather different names. Fast-forward to present day and Arsenal’s record against United stands at 82 games won, 48 games drawn and 99 losses to the Reds.
Moving on to closer times this fixture always produces some drama and is full of excitement. The game at Old Trafford this year still frustrates me to this day. We hadn’t won there for nine seasons and to score to go 2-1 up and then let them score so easily to equalise really was kick in the nuts. The FA Cup game then saw us gift United two goals in the space of as many minutes to put the tie to bed.
Arsenal fans will be hoping for third time lucky. I do believe that whoever wins this game will go on to finish fourth and maybe even third now that Tottenham have been sucked in to the race.
United are coming off the back of their victory away to PSG, whilst we suffered defeat on our trip to Renne on Thursday for our Europa League game. I would expect that the two sides will look nothing like they will on Sunday due to rotation and both managers wanting to keep their star players fit.
United have a massive injury list with players like Lingard, Mata, Valencia and Sanchez all out and have no expected time back just yet. Paul Pogba was suspended for the trip to Paris so he will be rearing to go come Sunday and he is the player Arsenal need to stop on Sunday. United are fine form only losing one game in their last 16.
Arsenal have everything needed to beat United Sunday. As said before I think that Pogba is the man that we need to keep quiet. After the performance against Spurs on Saturday I would expect Guendouzi and Xhaka to start with Ramsey just in front of them.
I think Xhaka will be the man to try and keep Pogba quiet when Guendouzi providing the cover. As it goes for team selection, I can’t see anything past the same 11 that started at Spurs being that they are all fit.
Arsenal must win this game to keep our hopes alive of a top four finish, as do Manchester United. If I offered any Arsenal fan the position in the league as as it stands before the start of the season, I think all would have bitten my hand off.
Unai Emery is my opinion needs to take a lot of credit this season, he has come in to a new country into a new league. The past weekend at Wembley really showed me that the players are fully behind him and fully understand that the jobs that they have and what he wants them to do.
Again he will fully study Ole’s United and put out a side that he feels confident can do the job. Arsenal need to take control of the game straight away. They need to play with pace and with confidence. Keeping Paul Pogba quiet is the key to winning this game in my opinion.
*all odds are subject to change