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Preview: Fernandes & McTominay to start against Arsenal? Martinez to return to the bench? Ten Hag to get this team performing?

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Manchester United -v- Arsenal

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 12 May 2024, KO 16:30 BST

Manchester United welcome Arsenal to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League. Erik ten Hag will need to overcome this poor run of form especially after a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Crystal Palace on Monday evening – his job could be gone when the season is done!

United have been terrible this season. There are many factors at play and it is easy to always blame the manager but the players, coaches, physios, the club doctor and other medical staff have all played a part with United having an injury-plagued season which has been a major disruption.

Arsenal are challenging to lift the Premier League title for the firs time in 20 years – currently sitting at the top of the table clear of Manchester City by one point – although City have a game in hand. United sit in eighth place, not likely to play in the UEFA Champions League next season!

United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Palace 4-0 L, Burnley 1-1 D, Sheffield 4-2 W, Coventry 3-3 (4-2 penalties) W, Bournemouth 2-2 D, Liverpool 2-2 D

Goals: 15 – Bruno Fernandes, 14 – Rasmus Hojlund, 10 – Scott McTominay, 9 – Alejandro Garnacho, 8 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Casemiro, 4 – Harry Maguire, 3 – Kobbie Mainoo, 2 – Antony, Diogo Dalot, Anthony Martial, 1 – Amad Diallo, Christian Eriksen, Victor Lindelof, Hannibal Mejbri, Mason Mount, Raphael Varane

Assists: 11 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Diogo Dalot, Alejandro Garnacho, Marcus Rashford, 3 – Casemiro, Scott McTominay, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 2 – Antony, Christian Eriksen, Rasmus Hojlund, Harry Maguire, 1 – Jonny Evans, Omari Forson, Victor Lindelof, Kobbie Mainoo, Anthony Martial, Lisandro Martínez, Mason Mount, Facundo Pellistri, Luke Shaw

Arsenal – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Bournemouth 3-0 W, Spurs 3-2 W, Chelsea 5-0 W, Wolves 2-0 W, Bayern 1-0 L, Villa 2-0 L

Goals: 20 – Bukayo Saka, 16 – Leandro Trossard, 13 – Kai Havertz, 11 – Martin Ødegaard, 8 – Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, 7 – Declan Rice, 6 – Eddie Nketiah, 4 – Gabriel Magalhães, Ben White, 2 – William Saliba, 1 – Jorginho, Jakub Kiwior, Reiss Nelson, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Fábio Vieira, Oleksandr Zinchenko

Assists: 14 – Bukayo Saka, 9 – Martin Ødegaard, Declan Rice, 8 – Gabriel Jesus, 6 – Kai Havertz, 5 – Gabriel Martinelli, Ben White, 3 – Jakub Kiwior, Eddie Nketiah, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Fábio Vieira, 2 – Jorginho, Reiss Nelson, Leandro Trossard, Oleksandr Zinchenko, 1 – William Saliba, Emile Smith Rowe

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Arsenal have met 63 times in the Premier League. United have won 26 times, drawing 18 times and losing 19 times. United have scored 88 goals in this fixture, winning eight penalties, scoring five. Arsenal have scored 73 goals, winning five penalties, scoring three.

United have kept 17 clean sheets against Arsenal, who have 19 clean sheets against United. There have been discipline issues with United players receiving 132 yellow cards and five red cards with Arsenal players getting 133 yellow cards and four red cards. United must win this one.

Paddy Sloan, David Herd, Ian Ure, George Graham, Jimmy Rimmer, Brian Kidd, Frank Stapleton, Viv Anderson, Jim Leighton, David Platt, Andy Cole, Mikael Silvestre, Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck, Henrikh Mkhitarayan and Alexis Sanchez have all played for both United and Arsenal.

Team News

Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw, Willy Kambwala and Mason Mount have all been ruled out through injury. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have 25% chances of fitness whilst Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes have 75% chances of being fit.

Lisandro Martinez recently returned to training and has a 50% chance of fitness. Ten Hag will have some major decisions to make with the quality of his squad depleted through injury and players that he selects regularly not actually performing to the best of their abilities.

Bukayo Saka has a 75% chance of fitness ahead of the clash with United at Old Trafford. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jurrien Timber both have 50% chances of fitness ahead of the match with Timber not likely to be involved after his return to training following a long-term injury.

Predicted United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Onana;

Dalot, Casemiro, Evans, Amass;

McTominay, Mainoo;

Amad, Fernandes, Garnacho;

Hojlund

Predicted Arsenal Starting XI – 4-3-3

Raya;

White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu;

Odegaard, Partey, Rice;

Saka, Havertz, Trossard

Match Prediction

United have been void of everything this season and seem to be running out of desire, which has been lacking from some players throughout the season. Ten Hag will need to get his players behind him in order to better United’s league position this season and even challenge for the FA Cup.

United have suffered massively from an injury crisis which has lasted the majority of the season which has seemed to spread around the defence with United having one fit central defender and two fit fullbacks that have experience. Youth have been included in the squad and they may need to play.

Against Arsenal, who are challenging for the Premier League title this season, United will need to be cautious and must aim to get the better of the North London club, who will probably show them no mercy as they did at the Emirates back in September. United could shock us all though!

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal

Written by Paul


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