Two Premier League giants meet at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday looking to reignite their respective campaigns. Following continental victories for both teams in the week, this encounter in north London promises to be a tense encounter.
Twenty years ago, Arsenal against Manchester United was a derby full of noise in the stands. On the pitch, there were incredible displays of passion, drama and desire on it. In the middle stood two leaders in battle. Patrick Viera and Roy Keane enjoyed many a feud on derby day while two of the world’s most highly respected managers’ in Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson would torment one another from the dugout. Explosive football was what drove the respective fans wild, and it also excited the neutral. It was a game that everyone spoke about in the days prior, and it was also a game that everyone wanted to watch.
Two decades on, those events are now consigned to the history books and for fans to reminiscence the good old glory days. In 2020, both sides are going through a long transitional phase. Instead of fighting for Premier League bragging rights, Arsenal and Manchester United are now finding themselves fighting for just a top-four finish and European qualification.
However in Europe this season, both teams are performing brilliantly in their respective groups. Arsenal thumped a stubborn Dundalk side in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday to continue their 100% record in Europe this season. But in the league, Arsenal are struggling in eleventh and only two points ahead of Manchester United. After winning three of their first four league fixtures this season, Mikel Arteta’s side has lost their last two league games against Manchester City and Leicester City, respectively.
Aside from a dip in form, it is Arsenal’s goal-scoring that has come in for criticism, particularly for their talisman Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Following on from his superb close to last season, Aubameyang has only scored once in his last six games for the Gunners.
In team news, David Luiz will miss the next few weeks through injury while Rob Holding and Calum Chambers remain on the sidelines.
Arsenal starting lineup:
Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Gabriel, Tierney, Ceballos, Xhaka, Partey, Willian, Saka, Aubameyang
Date – Sunday, November 1, 2020; Kick-Off – 19:30 Mecca; Channel – 11HD - Online - beIN CONNECT
Manchester United secured their first home win of the season with a stunning UEFA Champions League result against last season’s semi-finalists, Leipzig. The victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side continues their 100% record in a difficult group compromising of last season’s finalists, Paris Saint-Germain, who Manchester United beat on matchday one.
Manchester United have won three of their last four league games which have seen them rise from a potential scrap in the relegation zone to 15th – six points from safety. Solskjaer’s side has also scored 11 goals and conceded just two since the middle of the month. Marcus Rashford, a key contributor to their recent attacking and goal-scoring success. Manchester United have not beaten Arsenal in two and a half years in a Premier League fixture, but records will count for nothing on Sunday.
In team news, Alex Telles is out after testing positive for COVID-19. Eric Bailly and Jesse Lingard are expected to be out for at least a fortnight. Anthony Martial will sit out the last game of his three-match ban.
Manchester United starting lineup:
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Rashford
Manchester United arrive in the game with renewed confidence and belief. For a side that has suffered much this season, Solskjaer’s side can catapult themselves into the mix with victory in north London. Arsenal will look to their out-form talisman in Aubameyang to push them over the line in what will be a hotly contested derby at the Emirates Stadium.