Saturday, 2 December 2017

Arsenal v Manchester United Preview

Arsenal have put a pretty good run of results together recently and those results have seen them move into the top four for the first time this season. They have won five of their last six games and their only defeat in those games was against a City team who are 12 points ahead of them at the top of the league. It already looks like City are going to run away with the league and Arsenal will be hoping to find themselves among the teams fighting for second place.

As it stands United hold that second spot and they're four points above Arsenal, but we have the opportunity to cut that gap to a single point today. Arsenal have won all seven of their home games this season and kept clean sheets in five of those games and that has to give them real hope in this game. Included in that run was the 2-0 win against Spurs a few weeks ago and that performance is exactly what we're looking for today.

Jose Mourinho usually goes into games against the rest of the top six away from home with a fairly defensive approach. I would be surprised if he changed those tactics today and he will be extremely happy if his team do very little in attack, but sneak a 1-0 win. That tactic is probably one of the reasons why they are so far behind City and with such a defensive mindset I don't see them catching City. That means United are one of the chasing pack and we have enough reason to believe we are one of that pack too. 

Arsene Wenger got his team selection against Spurs exactly right, but it looks like he will have to do without Alexandre Lacazette today and the player he chooses to replace him could have a huge bearing on the game. I suppose it's a straight choice between Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck with Alexis Sanchez playing central if Welbeck gets the nod and Giroud in the centre if he does. The movement of Lacazette against Spurs was a crucial part of our victory against them and I think that should mean Welbeck will play.

Giroud scored twice when he came on for the injured Lacazette on Wednesday night, but United are a different prospect to Huddersfield. If we're going to get the three points we want I think Welbeck's mobility is the better option and of course he's pretty fond of a goal against his former club too which always helps.

I suppose this is an even more important game for us even than the Spurs game. That game got us back among the chasing pack and a win today would not only strengthen that position, but put us right up there in the fight for second place. I certainly don't think it's beyond us and I think can and most likely will do it which is a huge improvement on where we were at the end of August.

Maintaining our momentum has always been a problem for more years than I care to remember and it's something we seem to be dealing with better at the moment. The defeat at City didn't set us back and if the worst happens today that's something we have to learn from. I certainly don't want that to happen, but there are so many points to be won over the next few weeks that we could recover quickly if the worst happens.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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