Preview: Arsenal vs. Manchester United 

Preview: Arsenal vs. Manchester United 

Two behemoths of the English game whose starts to the campaign have left something to be desired clash in Sunday’s Premier League blockbuster battle, as Arsenal host Manchester United at the Emirates.

Mikel Arteta’s men dropped points for the first time this season in a 2-2 draw with Fulham last weekend, while the Red Devils produced a captivating comeback to sink Nottingham Forest 3-2.

A bullish Mikel Arteta claimed that Arsenal’s performance in last weekend’s four-goal stalemate with Fulham was “10 times better” than their 2-1 win over the Cottagers at this point last year, although a few aggrieved Gooners may have thought differently by the time the final whistle blew.

Following a pair of unconvincing victories over Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest, Arsenal shipped another first-minute goal at the Emirates through Andreas Pereira, but Bukayo Saka – whose pass sent the ex-Man United man away – went from zero to hero from the penalty spot before Eddie Nketiah had seemingly done enough to maintain the Gunners’ 100% start.

The writing was on the wall for Marco Silva’s side when Calvin Bassey saw red, or so the Emirates thought, as the returning Joao Palhinha expertly picked out the bottom corner to glean the unlikeliest of points for Fulham, bumping Arsenal down to fifth place in the Premier League table in the process.

Seven points from nine on offer is far from catastrophic for the Community Shield holders, but Arteta’s early-season experimentation has led to confusion and criticism in equal measure, and such innovation has yet to resolve their glaring defensive issues at home.

Indeed, Arsenal head into Sunday’s headline encounter having only kept one clean sheet in their last nine Premier League matches at the Emirates, but Arteta’s side can normally counteract defensive shortcomings with attacking proficiency, having netted at least twice in nine of their last 10 top-flight games in North London.

Preview: Arsenal vs. Man Utd – prediction, team news, lineups
The goal-laden spectaculars were not just limited to the English capital last weekend, as Nottingham Forest made Premier League history at Old Trafford, becoming the first team in the competition to score twice in the opening four minutes away to Manchester United.

Taiwo Awoniyi’s strike and Willy Boly’s header left the Red Devils faithful dumbfounded, but Christian Eriksen managed to reduce the deficit in the 17th minute, before fellow midfielders Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes completed a praiseworthy turnaround in the second 45.

Making a welcome return to winning ways after a dismal 2-0 loss away to Tottenham Hotspur – whom Arsenal will endeavour to emulate this weekend – Erik ten Hag’s team occupy eighth place in the embryonic rankings, having also recorded a smash-and-grab 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on home soil.

While the Red Devils’ resilience at home is not up for debate, some Man United fans may wish to overlook their side’s unsightly away record, which reads just three wins from their last 11 Premier League games on rival turf, scoring just once in their last four such matches.

Ten Hag’s men brought Arsenal crashing back down to earth with a 3-1 win at Old Trafford last year, but the Gunners completed their revenge mission with an enthralling 3-2 triumph at the Emirates in January, and not since Jesse Lingard stole the show in December 2017 have Man United prevailed in a Premier League fixture on Emirates soil.

Arsenal Premier League form:

Arsenal form (all competitions):

Manchester United Premier League form:

We say: Arsenal 3-1 Manchester United
While Arsenal are unable to buy a clean sheet at the Emirates right now and might succumb to Man United’s effervescent attacking forces, Arteta’s men are seldom outfought in front of their own fans and can get back on track at the expense of Ten Hag’s troops.

The in-form Nketiah – who has already terrorised the Man United backline in the past – and returning Jesus should be licking their lips at the prospect of facing a depleted Red Devils rearguard, and should Arteta’s men do the basics correctly, the home contingent at the Emirates should be celebrating an eye-catching win come full time.

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