Manchester United vs Arsenal
November 19, 2016
After the international break, it’s time to return to the Premier League and Manchester United couldn’t ask for a more difficult tie as they face Arsenal at Old Trafford.
Arsenal are fourth so far in the league, and six points ahead of the Red Devils, but they’re in blistering form and seeming to beginning to click this season.
Unlike at United, Jose Mourinho is making headlines every week, this time making digs at the media regarding their ‘respect’ or lack of, compared to his fellow manager, Arsene Wenger.
It’s difficult to see Mourinho’s tactics with his recent outbursts about Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw and now Wenger.
At Chelsea, Mourinho deployed a similar tactic, and let’s not forget Sir Alex Ferguson was renowned for his press conference shenanigans every so often, but most managers tend to do this when they’re winning.
As United are struggling for form and to even put a few decent performances together, it seems strange for Mourinho to put even more pressure on his players and himself.
Of course he’s a winner, he’s a champion but he may have possibly, in hindsight, chosen the wrong words when he first took charge of United, when he said he wanted to win everything.
When you look at other managers such as Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp for example, have built sides and undoubtedly struggled in their first seasons, as Mourinho is at the moment.
But they didn’t have the pressure of saying they’d win every tournaments they’re in, and Mourinho could be paying for that now.
However, of course, everything above could seem irrelevant if United thrash Arsenal and put in a fantastic performance.
Which could very well happen, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marouane Fellaini and possibly Wayne Rooney are all either suspended or absent due to injury.
This could make Mourinho’s United side much quicker, faster and as Sir Alex’s old sides used to do, could play on the counter against the Gunners which could bear a handful of goals for the Red Devils.
This is a big game for Mourinho, not just for his rivalry with Wenger, but more importantly for tenure at United.
He hasn’t had a big performance from his side against decent opposition as of yet or a big result, so it’s imperative he finally puts his stamp on the Premier League this season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss the game as he’s suspended due to picking up too many yellow cards. Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini are doubts, with Luke Shaw primed to return to the side.
The only other selection dilemma will be whether Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo continue at centre-back or whether Daley Blind comes back into the side.
Antonio Valencia could also make a return for the Red Devils.
Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin will miss the game due to injuries, but Alexis Sanchez looks like he’ll be fit for the big match.
Man Utd: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Shaw; Carrick, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Martial
Arsenal: Cech, Monreal, Koscielny, Mustafi, Gibbs; Ramsey, Coquelin, Xhaka; Sanchez, Ozil, Giroud