Preview: Arsenal vs. Manchester United

Preview: Arsenal vs. Manchester United

The MetLife Stadium in New Jersey plays host to a blockbuster all-Premier League affair on Saturday, as Arsenal renew hostilities with old foes Manchester United in what is billed as a ‘friendly’.

The Gunners began their North American stopover with a 5-0 thrashing of the MLS All-Stars on Wednesday, while the Red Devils most recently edged past Lyon 1-0 in Edinburgh.

Former Man United attacker Wayne Rooney was no stranger to inflicting misery on Arsenal during his playing heyday, but the DC United manager witnessed his star-studded MLS squad be ripped to shreds by Mikel Arteta’s young guns at Audi Field.

Taking part in the MLS All-Star match for the first time since 2016 – where they needed a late Chuba Akpom winner to defeat the North Americans – Arsenal’s expected triumph was much more emphatic this time around, putting five unanswered goals past Rooney’s team.

Gabriel Jesus, Leandro Trossard, Jorginho, Gabriel Martinelli and new arrival Kai Havertz were all on target during the Gunners’ demolition job, which also marked the largest margin of victory in the MLS All-Star game since 2000 as Arsenal kicked off their USA tour in perfect fashion.

Prior to their transatlantic crossing, Arsenal had been stunted in a pair of 1-1 draws with Watford and Nurnberg, and the friendly fixture list does not get any kinder to the Gunners, as La Liga holders Barcelona lie in wait in Los Angeles on July 26.

Monaco then make the journey to North London to battle Arsenal for Emirates Cup glory, before Arteta’s side commence their quest for Premier League stardom at home to Nottingham Forest on August 12, but Erik ten Hag’s men in red will firstly provide a stern test.

While plenty of recognisable names made the net ripple for the Gunners in their most recent friendly, a forgotten man in Donny van de Beek came up with the telling contribution when Man United and Lyon locked horns at Murrayfield Stadium earlier this week.

Reuniting with his former employers, Lyon head coach Laurent Blanc witnessed his side frustrate Man United in the first half of the contest, but just four minutes into the second period, Van de Beek crashed home a sublime volley to sink Les Gones.

Ten Hag’s side are now two-for-two in pre-season friendlies after also putting Leeds United to the sword 2-0 in Oslo, but as is the case with Arsenal, more daunting encounters await the 20-time English champions during their North American vacation.

Indeed, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund will also pit their wits against the Red Devils, who will also aim to replicate Chelsea’s 5-0 thumping of Wrexham when they take on the National League champions on July 25, before rounding off their summer preparations against Lens and Athletic Bilbao.

Man United subjected Arsenal to their first defeat of the 2022-23 Premier League season with a 3-1 triumph at Old Trafford in September, but the Gunners earned their revenge with a 3-2 success at the Emirates four months later, and there should certainly be no love lost between the two bitter adversaries on neutral ground.

Arsenal friendly form:

Manchester United friendly form:

We say: Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United
The result of Saturday’s headline encounter may very well hinge on how many of Man United’s big-name stars are deemed ready for returns, but if Wednesday’s game is anything to go by, Arsenal’s celebrated performers are already gelling with their new recruits.

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