After taking his first two games in charge of Manchester United away from home, Michael Carrick will be in the Old Trafford dugout as United manager for the first time against Arsenal on Thursday.
Some thought Sunday afternoon’s clash against Chelsea would be the former United midfielder’s last game in charge and this Arsenal fixture would be the first look at Ralf Rangnick as interim manager, however, delays with getting the German his work visa to work in the UK complicated that situation. It has now be confirmed that his first game in charge will be against Crystal Palace, this coming Sunday.
The match kicks off at 8:15pm on Amazon Prime for those in the UK. If you do not have an Amazon Prime subscription and are planning on streaming the match, make sure you have a NordVPN subscription, which allows you to stream matches securely and with lightning speeds – sign up here for 68% off a two-year subscription!
Describing Manchester United’s form is like describing what a colour looks like. They’re on a very weird run at the moment. Before Ole Gunnar Solskjær‘s sacking, the squad were on a dire run. Being thumped 5-0 by Liverpool and 2-0 by Manchester City, it looked bleak before the international break.
There were some decent results in that time as well, beating Tottenham 3-0 and drawing away to Atalanta; however, a cataclysmic 4-1 loss to Watford saw the Norweigan manager face the music and Michael Carrick take over.
The two games since Carrick has taken charge have been encouraging. A professional win away to Villarreal to secure top spot in Champions League Group F followed by a respectable point earned away to Premier League leaders Chelsea show signs of an uptake in form heading into this fixture.
Unlike United, Arsenal are in great form of late. Arsenal have won five of their last six league matches, scoring 10 goals and conceding five, with four of those goals coming in a 4-0 thrashing by Liverpool (but who doesn’t get beaten considerably by them, eh…).
The biggest change in team news for Manchester United is that after serving his one-match ban for a red card, Harry Maguire is now available for selection.
Raphaël Varane is still absent due to injury, with Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani both unlikely to feature either. Luke Shaw is continuing to be assessed after sustaining a couple of head injuries in recent fixtures.
Mason Greenwood is also back in the squad after being ruled out against Watford due to a positive COVID-19 test and was an unused substitute at Samford Bridge.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was not spotted at the team hotel, which could lead to the inclusion of Diogo Dalot at right-back.
For Arsenal, the main team news is an anxious wait on the results of a scan for young winger Bukayo Saka, who had to be substituted due to a knee injury.
Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolasinac are also both sidelined, however, Arsenal have a mostly fully fit squad to choose from.
Ones to Watch
The man of the moment at Manchester United is summer signing Jadon Sancho. With two goals in his last two games, Sancho has put in some extremely impressive performances of late and is well his way to finding his feet at Old Trafford.
With both his goals so far this season coming away from home, Jadon is sure to receive a big welcome from the United faithful, who will be willing him on to score his first goal at the Theatre of Dreams.
Another man in red to look out for is star striker Cristiano Ronaldo. Having been left on the bench against Chelsea and making little impact when he came on, Ronaldo will be looking to silence any doubt surrounding him and add to his Premier League goal count, just like he has done so far all season.
For Arsenal, academy graduate and the latest heir to their famous No.10 shirt Emile Smith-Rowe will be a significant force of attack against United. He has been in sparkling form recently, with three goals and and one assist in their last six matches, as well as a goal and assist for England in their 10-0 riot against San Marino.
Predicted Line-up (3-4-3)
David de Gea;
Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelöf, Harry Maguire;
Diogo Dalot, Fred, Scott McTominay, Alex Telles;
Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford.
A chance to impress
Ralf Rangnick is going to Manchester United’s next manager. We all know this, and so will the players.
It has been reported that Rangnick himself may be at Old Trafford to watch the match, and so this game will be one that some Manchester United players, such as Victor Lindelof and Alex Telles, can utilise to the maximum and impress their next gaffer ahead of his impending arrival.
It is also extremely important that United collect the three points, as it is with each and every league game, due to the need to keep up with the top four challengers. United currently sit eight in the table and five points behind West Ham in fourth. That needs to change.