Manchester United are travelling to north London to take on an in-and-out-of-form Arsenal side at the Emirates Stadium in a match that may well determine who will stay in the Premier League top four race and qualify for next season’s Champions League competition, with five matches remaining for the Red Devils.
In the reverse fixture back in December, Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero, scoring twice in a 3-2 victory over Norwich City for Manchester United. The game was quite the thriller, with Arsenal originally going ahead through a controvertial goal from Emile Smith-Rowe, after he was left with an empty net to shoot in to as David de Gea had gone down hurt just moments earlier.
The full match report for the victory can be read here.
The Opposition: Arsenal
Arsenal’s last five: WLLLW
Arsenal’s latest form is… weird. Before they headed into last gameweek’s mid-week fixture against Chelsea, they had lost three in a row, being convincinly beaten by Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton, respectively.
Against Crystal Palace, they looked second-best the entirity of the fixture. With first half goals from Jean-Phillipe Mateta and Jordan Ayew combined with a 74th minute penalty coolly slotted in by Wilfried Zaha, Arsenal were chasing the game from the second it kicked off.
The story when they played Brighton was not so different. A Man of the Match performance from Enock Mwepu saw the Gunners defeated 2-1, with Martin Ødegaard‘s 89th-minute goal, their only goal in those three fixtures, coming from range with a huge deflection to loop the ball over the line.
Against Southampton, they were the entirely dominant team, however just could not break down a resiliant Saints team and ultimately fell short again. At St. Mary’s, Arsenal had 23 shots (6 on target) and 76% possession.
However, when they rolled up to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, they put in an incredible performance to come away with a 4-2 victory against the side currently sat in 3rd place. They had only 32% possession on Wednesday, however this was seemlingly the aim from Mikel Arteta to begin with, as they were very effective with the ball to score four.
United’s last five: LWLDL
United’s last fixture was, to put it kindly, a disaster. Travelling to face a title-challenging Liverpool side, United were swept aside with complete ease, being dominated from start to finish and ultimately left Anfield with their heads hanging in shame after a 4-0 defeat.
Liverpool loss aside, United have only won two of their last 7 Premier League matches – one against Tottenham and the other last weekend against Norwich. Both games ended in 3-2 victories at Old Trafford, and both games were dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored all six goals for Manchester United across the two matches.
In this seven game run, United have only gained seven out of a possible 21 points – form which realistically says they do not deserve to be anywhere near the top four come the end of the season.
With Erik ten Hag being confirmed as the club’s next manager, Ralf Rangnick‘s men will hopefully take some inspiration from that appointment and use it as motivation to impress the new boss, who although will most likely not be watching, will definitly have a report on the match written up as he prepares for what is lining up to become a summer transfer window of mass-exodus.