People have talked a lot about how kind the Premier League schedule has been to Arsenal by not giving them a real test in their first five games. The rest of the division’s results this weekend, however, show that the Gunners’ perfect record is no small feat. Even so, the Gunners’ trip to Old Trafford on Sunday is without a doubt the hardest game they have played so far.
In the past, Arsenal has felt like they were not good enough when playing against one of the “big six” teams. However, after an impressive start to the season, Mikel Arteta is confident that his team is mentally ready. When asked if his team still feared the big games, the Spaniard said in his press conference before the game, “I don’t think so.” “We haven’t won at Stamford Bridge for however many years and have been through this and that. You have to believe that you can go there, play football the way you want to, and win the game.”
Even so, this game will be very important for the Gunners if they want to keep up the good mood in north London right now. Arteta will need to pick the right team if he wants to win a sixth game in a row, which is not likely.
Aaron Ramsdale seemed to hurt himself at the end of Wednesday’s win over Aston Villa, which will worry everyone. Matt Turner has shown that he can handle tough situations in the past, but making his Premier League debut at Old Trafford is a lot to ask of him. If Ramsdale is even close to being fit, you would think he would play.
Ben White, on the other hand, is thought to be fine before the game, so he will probably stay at right back with William Saliba and Gabriel next to him. On the left side, however, Arteta has to make a much more interesting choice.
Oleksandr Zinchenko didn’t start training with the Arsenal team until January, but he may have gone to Manchester with the team. Kieran Tierney has done a great job filling in for the Ukrainian, but the Scottish international just can’t do what Zinchenko can do with the ball. Considering this and the fact that there are injuries in the midfield, Arteta might want to put the Ukrainian right back into the team, with Tierney coming on to try to help win the game.
Albert Sambi Lokonga would also get help from Zinchenko’s return as he tries to take control of the midfield at Old Trafford. Due to the absences of Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny, the Belgian will almost certainly play at the six position. This will allow Granit Xhaka to move forward more and hopefully keep up his impressive record of scoring against United.
Alongside him, Arteta will be hoping that Martin Odegaard, who hurt his ankle against Villa, is also healthy enough to play. Emile Smith Rowe and Fabio Vieira can fill in for the Norwegian if he can’t play, but his recent play shows that he’s worth taking a chance on.
Up front, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli, who both score a lot of goals, aren’t likely to switch places. Bukayo Saka, on the other hand, will want to silence those who have said he hasn’t scored any goals this season. The England international will see Old Trafford as the best place to do so.
Arsenal’s predicted starting lineup against Manchester United was: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Lokonga, Xhaka, Odegaard; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.