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Ones to watch: Manchester United vs Arsenal (pre-season)



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Credit: Man Utd

Continuing their ongoing pre-season in the US, Manchester United will take on Arsenal in a friendly in New Jersey in a Saturday night kickoff.

Erik Ten Hag’s young squad has ticked all the boxes in their previous two wins over Leeds United and Lyon. Along with the exceptional rise of some academy players like and Kobbie Mainoo, Manchester United will also be boosted by the return of the players such as Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, among others.

United’s latest signing Andre Onana can also make his unofficial debut in the clash against United’s Premier League rivals in New York’s MetLife stadium on Saturday. United’s traveling squad has a good mix of experienced and young players so it would be interesting to see how Ten Hag lines up his team.

Although, Matej Kovar is a notable exclusion from the team. The young custodian impressed with his ball playing abilities in the first two matches. Left back Tyrell Malacia is also dropped among others due to an injury.

While on other hand, Arsenal decimated MLS All-Stars in their last match. New signing Kai Havertz was also one of the five scorers as the Gunner won 5-0. The match also saw the unofficial debut of Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber.

Let’s take a look at the ones to watch out for:

Manchester United: Mason Mount

The new summer signing from Chelsea has done just well enough to not give an inch to his critics. The 24-year-old was a starter for Chelsea in the 21-22 season, being involved in over 20 goals in the Premier League. But last season, he fell out of the ranks and managed to have just five goal involvements in 24 Premier League matches.

Despite his drop of form, Ten Hag was determined to get him into the squad since the start of the transfer window. At a recent press conference, the gaffer even heaped praise on the Englishman and clearly laid out his expectations from United’s new No. 7.

“He’s one who brings extra skills, smartness and also belief and bravery in the game.”

Mount has had impressive outings in both of his performances, however, he is yet to score or assist a goal. And with the price tag he has come, he surely needs to step up his game to justify the bucks spent on him. Moreover, it would be interesting to see how Ten Hag uses the midfielder. With the return of Bruno Fernandes who generally plays as the No. 10, Mount is most likely to partner Casemiro in the heart of midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Arsenal – Kai Havertz

Another Chelsea sale, Kai Havertz is most likely to start against United in the US friendly. The German has had a disappointing spell at Chelsea where he never really adopted to the style.

Havertz is such a player who can slot anywhere in Mikel Areteta’s team. From replicating his time at Bayer 04 Leverkusen where he played as a double pivot, Havertz can complement Declan Rice. The German can also play as an attacking midfielder and use his creative prowess to feed the other attackers.

During his time at Chelsea, Havertz also played as the centre forward but it is unlikely that he can play in that position given Jesus’ availability. Arteta can also deploy the German in a free role tasked with exploiting the free spaces and making the forward runs.